fall anyone?

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.

(Pictured before going into the oven), my go-to everyday whole wheat cake dotted with fresh kiwi, apricots, plums, diced dried apricots, and chopped pecans.  

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
  1. 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.
  2. Add farro to the onion mixture, toast the grain for 2-3 minutes while stirring continuously.
  3. 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.
  4. 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.)
  5. 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

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