Farro is a supergrain, a variety of wheat said to have sustained the Romans as they conquered the world thousands of years ago. Armed with more than twice the protein and six times the fiber of Arborio rice, each grain is rich in magnesium, niacin, zinc, and iron. Farro has a low gluten content, making it easier to digest and potentially good choice for gluten-sensitive people. Farro is an excellent source of complex carbohydrates, and it can play a significant role in maintaining healthy body weight and reducingthe risk of diabetes, heart disease, and cardiovascular disease, as well as helping to prevent certain forms of cancer.
Like pasta, farro absorbs whatever flavors you add to it, making it a great substitute for the typical white rice in risotto. Void of the empty calories found in white rice, farro gives me room to add a little more cheese. And the earthy nuttiness of this grain makes it a perfect partner with mushrooms. How delighted was I when I heard Conchetta Cadolini say that mushrooms and farro taste so good together, as that was exactly my intent when I put this dish together.
dried porcini mushrooms
fat-free, reduced-sodium chicken broth, such as Swanson's
cloves garlic, minced
tightly packed Tuscan kale leaves, torn into bite-size pieces
mixed fresh mushrooms, stems removed and cut into bite-size pieces
arrowroot mixted with 1 teaspoon water
freshly ground black pepper
Break up the dried porcini into 2 cups of the chicken broth in a microwave-safe bowl. Cover and cook until it simmers, about 5 minutes.
Bring the remaining chicken broth to a simmer in a large skillet. Add the porcini mixture. Cover and turn off the heat.
Melt the butter in a large skillet over medium heat. Add the garlic and cook until it is very aromatic, about 1 minute. Add the farro and stir to coat it evenly.
Add half the broth (with the now-rehydrated porcinis) to the farro. Cover and simmer, stirring occasionally, until the broth is completely absorbed, about 15 minutes. Add the remaining broth along with the kale and mushrooms and cook until the farro has absorbed almost all of the broth. Check to see if it is done; it should be tender but still have a bite.
Add the dissolved arrowroot to the farro and simmer until the mixture is thick and creamy, about 1 minute. Add three-quarters of the Parmigiano and season with salt and pepper.
Divide the risotto among 4 bowls and sprinkle with the remaining Parmigiano.
Tips: Use any wild mushrooms you can find in your store; the flavor returns are threefold over those cultivated varieties.
If you can't find dried porcinis, replace them with any other dried mushrooms you can find--shittakes are great!
If you have extra time, try grinding some additional dried mushrooms in a coffee grinder and include a tablespoon or two in the risotto for some added depth.
Check out the video playlist above to watch Rocco make this recipe.
In "Now Eat This! Italy," watch New York Times best-selling author and celebrity chef Rocco DiSpirito as he travels to Italy to learn how to make all our favorite Italian dishes from the real Mamas of Italy like lasagna Bolognese with Lucia Ercolano, Spaghetti Vongole with Daniella Miccio and Insalata Caprese with Maria Ercolano. In this unique intersection of travel, adventure, culinary and healthy Rocco answers the question, "Can you eat pasta and lose weight?"
Produced: 2013 By: Savory Place Media