I can be a bit of a traditionalist. Take risotto. It’s hard for me to imagine an alternative to the traditional Arborio rice I’ve always used. After all, risotto is one of those nearly perfect dishes that is so much better than its simple ingredient list leads you to believe. Yet, risotto manages to amaze me every time I make it. Which is why I surprised the traditionalist in me when I gave Farro Risotto a try. The whole experiment started because I was interested in taking a favorite dish and making it just a little bit more healthful. I never thought that I would actually prefer these chewy, nutty grains to the more traditional rice.
But I just might…
Like Arborio rice, farro releases a little starch when cooked – in combination with warm broth – risotto-style. Farro grains are not quite as starchy as rice so Farro Risotto isn’t quite as creamy as traditional risotto. Still, the similarities are quite striking.
Most farro is sold pearled or semi-pearled. Which means that some (or all) of the bran has been removed. Pearling has the advantage of allowing the grains to cook quicker. Despite the processing pearled farro still has more health benefits than rice, but if you have time seek out whole-grain farro. You’ll stand at the stove stirring a little longer, but it’s this unhurried process that produces the best risotto whichever grain you choose. GREG