Have you tried farro? I had never heard of it until about 5 years ago. And once I tried it, I was sold! Grains sometimes get a bad rap, but I love grains and most of the time will prefer a grain over another side accompaniment.
So what is farro? It is a grain derived from various types of wheat dependent upon the variety. The the best explanation I found is from Ancient Grains for Modern Meals , by Maria Speck, who writes that the term farro is “commonly used when referring to three ancient wheat varieties first cultivated in the Fertile Crescent and still grown in Italy:farro piccolo (also known by the German einkorn), farro medio (also known as emmer, the Hebrew word for mother), and farro grande (also known as spelt).”
All I know is that it is easy to cook, chewy to bite into (not mushy), and it is from Italy, so that makes it seem really awesome to eat in my book.
In my effort to eat seasonally, I took some farro out last night to see what we could do with the veggies from the garden and CSA. This is what I came up with and it was MIGHTY good.
What you need:
- Farro (you will follow the container’s directions)
- 3-4 cloves, garlic
- Olive oil
- 2 bunches kale
- 1 bunch chard
- 3 sweet potatoes (you could use another type of squash)
- 1/4 cup pinenuts
- Small handful of dried cranberries
- Lemon juice, fresh from 1 lemon
- Splash of balsamic
- Goat cheese
Here we go:
Start with smashing 3 – 4 cloves of garlic and begin to soften them up in some olive oil over low heat. I love using low here as it won’t brown the garlic (making it bitter). It takes a few minutes longer to get it going, but I can chopped while it is filling the kitchen with great fragrance.
Start chopping. I chopped 2 bunches of kale & 1 bunch of swish chard and diced into 1 inch pieces, 3 sweet potatoes. You can vary these amounts. This recipe is a creative mishmash of what you have on hand, so don’t feel tied to this! After the slicing and dicing is complete, set the kale/chard aside and drizzle the sweet potatoes with olive oil and salt and pepper. Toss it around, put the sweet potatoes on a baking sheet at 400 degrees and set the timer for 30 minutes.
At this point I started my farro. Mine cooked in 20 minutes so this was the perfect time to start it. Yours may be different so read your directions and start it when appropriate. You want it done by the time the potatoes are done, because that is when you will throw this all together. 🙂
Toast about 1/4 cup of pine nuts (or a little more if you nibble on them like I do!). I simply toast over medium heat in a little skillet. Keep close by as they will burn (personal experience speaking). When they are done, turn off the burner. I added a small handful of dried cranberries here. They do not need to cook, I just wanted them together so I wouldn’t forget them.
At this point, your garlic should be soft and looking good. Toss in the kale and chard into the garlic and olive oil over medium low heat continue to toss it around. It should get bright and soften, but don’t cook it to the point of mushy greens.
Squeeze one lemon for it’s juice. I do this through a strainer and into a bowl so seeds are caught. This will be used at the end; I just wanted it ready to rock when needed. TIP: did you know you can freeze lemons? Whenever I get lemons, I freeze a couple of them. One, they are easy to zest from the freezer and you can use it over and over since it is frozen and will not go bad now that you have broken into it. Two, if you think ahead and take the lemon out about 45 minutes before squeezing it, you will get TONS of juice from that little thawed guy.
By now your farro is done and drained. Toss it in with the greens and garlic. Remove your potatoes from the oven and toss them in there also. YUMMY! We are almost there!
After everything is all tossed and getting friendly with each other, hit it with the lemon juice, a splash of balsamic and some freshly crumbled goat cheese (because it is just good on everything!)
I hope that you try this; it is fantastic and healthy! And super simple; it took me longer to write the post than cook the meal. 🙂
Buona tavola! (good eating)