The way I decided to make this was typical: I had found a new (to me) cookbook at the local used bookstore, and bought it partly because it included a number of recipes for farro. I decided I would make one of the recipes this week, but as I was scanning them I was suddenly reminded of a dish in The Italian Country Table that I had been intrigued by. So I made that instead. I’m easily derailed when it comes to menu planning.
I thought this was a cool recipe, pairing the sweet taste of farro with bright orange zest and fresh herbs, and chickpeas for added flavor and texture. It made a nice change from the cream and mushrooms often used in farro dishes. We had it alongside a roast chicken and a chunky beet salad (which went great with the orange in the farro).
Farro Risotto with Sage and Orange
adapted from The Italian Country Table by Lynne Rossetto Kasper
1 ½ cups farro
2 Tbsp olive oil
1 onion, finely chopped
15 sage leaves, torn up
1 4-inch branch rosemary
½ tsp fennel seeds, crushed
salt and pepper
1 can chickpeas, drained
8 cups chicken broth
shredded zest of one orange
2 cloves minced garlic
½ cup white wine
½ cup grated parmesan
Soak the farro in hot water while you prepare the other ingredients.
Heat the broth, and keep warm on a back burner.
Heat the oil in a heavy pan, add the onion, sage, rosemary, fennel and salt. Cover and turn the heat to low for 15 minutes. Uncover, raise the heat to medium high, and cook the onions until golden. Halfway through browning, add half the chickpeas.
Drain the farro and add it to the onions, along with the garlic and half the orange zest. Add broth, one ladleful at a time. Pull up a stool and get a glass of wine – you’re stuck here for a while. Keep stirring and adding broth until the farro is just tender.
Add the rest of the chickpeas and orange zest. Stir in the wine and cook until it’s absorbed. Remove the rosemary branch.
Stir in the cheese, garnish with parsley, and serve.