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Farro Risotto with Orange Gremolata

Posted May 26 2011 10:12pm

Only a foodie would recognize the words in this recipe! It almost sounds like a sci-fi animated movie! Any ideas what we are cooking up in my Sweet Basil Kitchen today? Well, I confess, this is not my original recipe. I picked up Rachel Ray’s latest Every Day Food magazine at our local library and one of her recipes really tweaked my interest. I had to substitute and change some amounts, but I was able to make this 30 minute meal in 30 minutes! Risotto is typically a rice dish, made by sautéing rice in oil and gradually adding liquid until it is soft and creamy. The risotto today is made with farro, not rice.

Farro is a wild relative of wheat, very similar to barley. When cooked it looks like a  soft puffed rice cereal. Cooked farro has a firm chewy texture. It is an Italian favorite, found in food specialty stores or purchased in health or bulk food stores. After hearing about and reading of farro fanfare, I wanted to give it a try! You can substitute pearled barley in this recipe in place of the farro.

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Begin by finely chopping one carrot, 1/2 red bell pepper and one medium onion.

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Sauté veggies in 2 T. grapeseed or olive oil, along with 1/2 t. garlic gold nuggets (or 3 cloves of minced garlic) for several minutes to soften.

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Add 1 1/2 c. farro and stir for one minute; season with salt and pepper.

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Stir in 1/2 c. white wine and cook for one minutes. Heat one 32oz. container of stock, I used beef, but chicken or vegetable would also work fine. Add a generous pinch of saffron threads to warmed stock. I was given some saffron from  friend from Italy, and am excited to finally use it in a recipe!

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Add a 1/2 c. of saffron stock at at time into farro mixture, stirring vigorously with each addition. Allow liquids to soak in before adding more stock.

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Cook for about 20 minutes, using all the stock. Stir in 1/2  c. grated parmigiano-reggiano cheese. If you see the name stamped on the outside wheel of the cheese, you know you have the real stuff!

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While the risotto is cooking, prepare your gremolata. Gremolata is a chopped herb condiment, that usually includes fresh parsley and other flavors. These are the ingredients in today’s gremolata recipe…

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Zest one orange.   Grind 1/4 c. roasted almonds and chop a handful of fresh parsley.

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Right before serving, add this mixture to the farro risotto.

I chose to sauté some scallops to serve over this risotto. Pat scallops dry…

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Sear on both sides in a small amount of grapeseed oil and season with salt and pepper. Do not over cook scallops or they will be rubbery. Depending on the size, these small scallops only took a few minutes.

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Plate up  farro risotto and top with some scallops!

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I also grilled some zucchini for a side. I will blog about grilled vegetables soon. Stay tuned!

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Even though my honey is a meat-lover man, he heartily approved of this dish that boasted minimal meat! The farro is high in fiber and along with the veggies, this dish had great staying power! All in all, I will have to say, I am now a farro fan!

Farro Risotto with Orange Gremolata

1 carrot, finely diced
1 medium onion, chopped
1/2 red bell pepper, chopped
1/2 t. Garlic Gold Nuggets (or 3 cloves garlic, minced)
2 T. olive oil
32 oz. beef stock (or chicken or vegetable)
generous pinch of saffron threads
Salt and Pepper
1/2 c. white wine
1/2 c. grated parmigiano-reggiano cheese
1/4 c. chopped roasted almonds’
zest of one orange
handful chopped parsley

Saute veggies in olive oil for one minute to soften. Add farro and stir for one minute. Season with salt and pepper. Stir in wine and cook for another minute. Warm stock and add saffron. Add a few ladlefuls of saffron stock at a time, stirring vigorously with each addition. When liquid is absorbed, add more until stock is gone and farro is tender. (about 20 minutes) Add  cheese. Mix almonds with orange zest and parsley. Stir into farro mixture before serving.

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