I am a lucky woman. I am blessed by lots of lovely friends in all corners of the world. Many have all sort of interesting professions and hobbies.
Some of my coolest friends, Diana, Corinna, Giulia, Gloria, Rebecca, are innkeepers, just like me. We are the new career girls, we have first gone into complicated studies at prestigious universities and/or a career in entomology, physics, law, literature, languages, etc….
Then, as an obvious and logical consequence of the above efforts, we have become innkeepers.
So here we are, each one at the top of one or another emerald-green hill trying to convince the world to switch off the iphone for a moment and come to visit. This is not an easy task, so we don’t have a lot of time to meet but when we do we have grand fun.
The recipe below is from Rebecca who lives on a green hill very near mine. In the winter, when all is quiet, we get a haircut and play the proper ladies of the house. See for yourselves how truly gracious we are:
Farrotto is a healthy version of risotto but it’s made with farro. It’s a delicious dish good for all seasons and perfect for the last chilly evenings of spring.
Farro, or spelt in English, is an heirloom Italian grain very similar to barley. One can basically replace arborio rice with pearled farro in any risotto recipe, adding a bit to the cooking time, and end up with the same creaminess but with a more complex flavor and firmer grain.
- 1/4 cup olive oil
- 1/2 onion (or 2 shallots), chopped
- about 4 cups mix of exotic and/or wood mushrooms (portobello, porcini, crimini, oyster, shitake)
- about 1/2 cup white wine
- about 5 cups of vegetable broth
- 1.5 cup farro perlato (pearled)
- salt to taste
- 1/2 cup freshly grated parmesan or aged pecorino
- italian parsley to garnish
In medium saucepan, bring stock to a boil. Reduce heat to low. Meanwhile clean and chop the mushrooms and onion or shallot. In large saucepan, heat about half of the oil over medium-high heat. Add the mushrooms and cook, stirring often, until soft, about 5 minutes. Using a slotted spoon, transfer them to a bowl and set aside. Add remaining oil and onion or shallots and cook, stirring often, until soft, about 5 minutes.
Add the farro to the pan and stir to coat with oil. Add the wine and cook, stirring until liquid is absorbed, about 1 minute until it evaporates off. Add 1 cup hot stock to pan and stir in mushrooms. Cook, stirring and adding more hot stock as it is absorbed, until the farro is tender but still firm, about 40 minutes.
Mix in the Parmesan or pecorino and adjust salt if necessary.
Serve with additional freshly grated cheese on each serving.
Variations: use red wine with strong flavored mushrooms, add asparagus or roasted squash/pumpkin, add freshly ground pepper, top with a dollop of garlicky red pepper and tomato sauce or add smoked pancetta to the initial sauté.