I'd bought some farro a few months ago as part of my Groaty Pudding debacle, and it's been hanging around in the cupboard ever since looking at me reproachfully each time I pass it by in favor of pasta or quinoa or rice. Jack and I were tossing dinner ideas around and I decided to go and have a look at the larder (my fancy word for two cupboards, a refrigerator, two spice racks, and a bowl of onions, potatoes, garlic and whatever other vegetables I happen to have around at any given time). Wouldn't you know that sitting right next to the farro was a package of dried mushrooms? And in the freezer was a little container of truffle butter... It was meant to be.
While I think that dried porcini mushrooms, or a mix of both portobello and porcini would be ideal (as well as some fresh mushrooms), and will be trying it that way next time, this dish was a hit. We loved the toothsome and yet tender texture of the farro, and how beautifully it carried the flavor of the other ingredients.
Farro "Risotto" with Dried Portobello Mushrooms
2 cups farro
1 ounce dried portobello mushrooms
1 tbsp unsalted butter (or truffle butter, if you want to be seriously decadent!)
1 tbsp olive oil
1 cup finely chopped onion
1 carrot, diced
1 cup dry white wine
salt and pepper, to taste
chopped fresh parsley, for garnish
Place the farro in a large pot and cover with water. Let soak for about 30 minutes. Drain off the soaking water and boil the farro in one quart of water, salted, partially covered, for 30 - 45 minutes or until soft, but al dente. Drain.
While farro is cooking, soak the mushrooms with 1 cup of hot water for about 30 minutes. Remove them from the bowl, squeezing the water back into the bowl and reserve the liquid. Chop the mushrooms coarsely.
Melt the butter with the olive oil in a skillet over low heat. Add the carrots and saute for about 5 minutes. Add the onion and cook until soft. Stir in the mushrooms, then add the wine. Simmer for about 10 minutes. Strain the reserved soaking liquid into the skillet. Simmer for another 10 minutes. (If the farro is not yet cooked, remove skillet from heat and set aside.)
When the farro is cooked and drained, add it to the contents of the skillet, mixing gently. Season to taste with salt and pepper. Garnish with the chopped parsley and serve with grated Parmigiano-Reggiano.