My dad taught me how to make risotto. It is definitely up there with one of my favorite meals. Mostly because cooking with my dad is so much fun. I know a lot of people say “Oh, my dad is great,” but I mean I truly can kick it with pops. We knock back a few Pinot Noir’s and tell overly-animated stories while somehow managing to make perfect risotto every time.
This brings me to farrotto — the healthier risotto. Farro has a lot of nutritional value. It’s one of the oldest and most nutritional grains! It doesn’t get quite as creamy, pillowy and melt-in-your-mouthy (ugh don’t get me started) as risotto, but I promise you it will still hit the spot.
I’ve made farrotto before, just like I would with risotto, but I found it took way too long too cook and it was still kinda tough. Believe me, I’m all about nurturing a pan of risotto — adding liquid, stirring every 2 minutes — but not when it’s pushing close to a half an hour. By then, I already finished my wine and burnt my tongue from trying it so often to see if it was ready — Nope! Still needs more time.. Enter: Low Maintenance Farrotto.
Put it all in a pot and walk away. DONE.
I was looking at all those one- pot-pasta recipes and I instantly thought of my cute (yes, I just called farro cute) farro I usually just use in salads and soups..
*lightbulb emoji here*
I didn’t even use broth — just water! The result is creamy, hearty, healthy and more-wine-pleasey. Throw everything you want in your dreamy farrotto and walk away. Don’t walk away like go watch a movie, walk away and come back in 15 minutes, checking up on it once or twice to gift it a stir.
This would be even better if it wasn’t 90° here. I just blast my AC and get all snuggly and pretend like it’s a cold, winter night and I’m snowed in with my farrotto. Until I go outside to pick my rosemary and I instantly get a mosquito bite and by the time I’m back in I have to change.
Also you should know the rosemary is on the balcony.
You can spin this (or stir, rather) farrotto with any ingredients you like — I used chickpeas because blending them, a similar technique used in my soup, makes for a creamy consistency. There are so many variations to this dish, you really can get creative here. Make this healthy farrotto. It’s even better the next day.
Low Maintenance Farrotto
- 1/2 cup farro
- 1 can chickpeas
- 3/4 pint of halved San Marzano mini tomatoes or cherry tomatoes
- 2 cloves garlic
- 1 generous stem of fresh rosemary, chopped
- 2 cups of water, plus 1/2 more nearby in case you need more.
- crushed red pepper, and salt and pepper to taste.
Start with spraying a saucepan with olive oil, or drizzling if that’s what you have, and heat to medium heat. I use Bertolli extra virgin organic spray and it is a must have in my kitchen. Cook your garlic until fragrant before adding halved tomatoes. Try to let them sear a bit, this will enhance the flavor — don’t move them around once you put them in the pan. Cook for roughly 5-8 minutes (I’m wingin’ the time, here) while you prepare the chickpeas. Rinse and drain a can of chickpeas and place about 1/4 or so of the chickpeas in a blender or food processor. Blend and set aside. Add farro to saucepan and toss around to “toast” the farro, like we do in traditional risotto. Toss the whole chickpeas in saucepan and add the water and rosemary. Bring to a soft boil.
Check on it every few minutes to stir, but let your farrotto hang out. Once you see the liquid is almost completely absorbed, taste your farro and test for al dente. When nearly finished, roughly 20 minutes later, toss in blended chickpeas. Cook for another few minutes, seasoning to taste and adding more water if needed. When farro is al dente and liquid is absorbed — it will resemble risotto — scoop in serving bowls and top with some cheese, a drizzle of olive oil and some rosemary.
*if there is a man involved or you girls are really hungry, you may want to double this recipe. I made this for myself and had enough for lunch the next day.