Thank a friend for supplying the motivation I could have generated myself to experiment with a new grain. Actually, it’s anything but new; in fact it’s ancient. The type of farro (wheat) I experimented with has been cultivated in Italy for centuries and is semi-pearled, so some of the bran is removed which speeds cooking. No overnight soaking.
The prep was simple. I first sweated 1/2 of a large yellow onion, finely chopped, in a bit of olive oil and set it aside. Using the same pan, I tossed 1 cup of farro into 7-8 cups of boiling water with salt and 1 more Tbsp olive oil. Cooking time can vary and as with any grain, I begin testing for doneness 7-10 minutes prior to recommended cooking times. It turns out that 25 min was ideal.
Just prior to starting the farro, I sliced two fennel bulbs lengthwise into 1/4″ slices, cutting the cores off first, and chopped the fennel fronds. I placed the fennel and several carrots sliced of similar width in a roasting dish, and bathed the veggies lightly in olive oil, a generous portion of dried thyme and freshly ground pepper. The dish went in a 350 degree oven, and I turned the vegetables every 10 min. Total roasting time was 35 min.
The al dente farro has a satisfying chew and a deep nuttiness. The grains separate easily. I added 1/2 C of grated pecorino cheese and the chopped fronds, then served it with the roasted vegetables.
I love the substance and heartiness of this grain and, in fact, I could see it with cinnamon and a bit of cream and a fresh berry garnish for breakfast. Great versatility, and totally delicious.