Golden roasted beets with red lentils and toasted walnuts dressed with extra virgin olive oil, a drizzle of walnut oil, healthy doses of salt and freshly ground black pepper, and topped with herbed goat cheese, a recipe by Laura Calder I adapted.
I am ushering in fall this week with one of my favorite grains, farro. Cooked risotto-style, the whole grain creates its own sauce while combining beautifully with its savory counterparts.
I learned this risotto-style cooking technique from Martha Rose Shulman. It yields a lovely, chewy grain and is a healthier option than arborio rice, the rice traditionally used to make risottos.
Toasting the grains for a couple minutes lends a more distinct nutty flavor to the dish. The addition of sun-dried tomatoes are sweet and chewy and the pinto beans give the meal more substance and texture. A sprinkling of pumpkin seeds lend crunch. The dish is equally as good served without cheese.
Farro with Sun-Dried Tomatoes and Pumpkin Seeds
- 1/2 large sweet onion, diced
- 1 clove garlic, minced
- 1/4 lb. farro
- 1/4 c. white wine
- 1 – 1 1/2 c. low-sodium vegetable broth
- 1 t. thyme
- 1 15 oz. can pinto or cannelini beans, drained, rinsed, set aside
- 1/4 c. julienne cut sun-dried tomatoes
- goat cheese or other tangy cheese for topping, to taste, optional
- 1/4 c. or so pumpkin seeds or pine nuts
- chopped parsley, garnish
- salt, freshly ground black pepper
- extra virgin olive oil
- In a large skillet heat 2 – 3 T. extra virgin olive oil, sauté onion over medium heat with a generous pinch of salt. Once onion begins to soften, about 3-4 minutes, add garlic. Stir for 30 seconds or so until garlic is fragrant turning heat down if necessary.
- Add farro to the onion mixture, toast the grain for 2-3 minutes while stirring continuously.
- Add white wine, thyme, and freshly ground black pepper to taste. Stir to combine. Cook farro over medium to medium low heat maintaining a simmer while stirring frequently. Once the wine is absorbed, add about 1/2 c. of broth just until it barely covers the grains. Continue to cook while stirring frequently.
- Continue adding 1/4 – 1/2 c. broth when liquid is absorbed. The process will take about 25 -35 minutes. An al dente grain, I’ve found to be between 25-30 minutes, if you prefer a softer grain, cook a bit longer. (After 40 minutes of cooking the grain will begin to get mushy.)
- Once the grain’s consistency is to your liking, stir in beans and sun-dried tomatoes. Warm through 1 minute. Off heat, taste and adjust seasonings. Top with seeds. Garnish with cheese and parsley, if using. Serve immediately.Yield 3 – 4 servings