Risotto Style Farro

Dinners in Under an Hour

This recipe came to me from a fellow shopper who saw I was buying risotto, chickpeas, and cannellini beans. It’s less of a recipe and more of a suggestion of things to combine to make an awesome one-pot dish. For my rendition of it, I used the following ingredients:

  • farro (soaked for 6-8 hours)
  • chickpeas (soaked for 6-8 hours)
  • cannellini beans (cooked previously)
  • cauliflower greens (or any type of greens you like)
  • mushrooms
  • 2 small or 1 medium carrot
  • onions
  • olive oil
  • basil
  • thyme (optional)
  • garlic
  • salt and pepper
  • water or broth

Dice the onion and saute it with the oil in a pot large enough to hold the soup. While that’s cooking, dice the carrot. When the onions look clear, add in the carrot and stir. Throw in a pinch of salt. Let those cook till soft. At this point, I also threw in some fresh thyme but I’m not sure if that added anything. Dice the mushrooms and put those in also.

When the mushrooms are browned and soft, drain the farro and put it in the pot. Stir for a couple of minutes to toast the farro in the oil and aromatic ingredients. Next, add in the drained chickpeas. Throw in a few teaspoons of salt, and then enough water or broth to cover plus one inch. Cover the pot and let that come to a boil. When it does, turn the heat down to medium low and let it simmer with the cover on. Stir every 10 minutes to make sure it doesn’t stick to the bottom and add more water if it looks like it’s getting dry.

In the meantime, make pesto out of the basil, garlic, olive oil, and a pinch of salt. I like to do it in the mortar and pestle just so I don’t have to clean the food processor and it’s the proper way to do it. There should be 2-3 tablespoons of pesto. Wash your greens and roughly chop them.

After thirty minutes, check the farro and chickpeas. If they’re soft, go on to the next step. If not, cover and check back in another 10 minutes.

When the farro and chickpeas are cooked, stir in the greens, some more salt and cover to cook. When the greens are wilted and cooked (5-10 minutes) stir in the cooked cannellini beans. If there’s still a lot of liquid in the pot, take the lid off and let it cook off. I left enough liquid so that the ‘risotto’ was still pretty creamy. When the risotto is to your preferred consistency, turn off the heat, add in the pesto and stir. Salt and pepper to taste.

As a final step, you can also stir in freshly grated cheese, but I found that this step was unnecessary since the ‘risotto’ was plenty creamy.

Beans & Greens

After seeing these pictures of how wonderful a simple pot of beans could look, I was inspired to cook some dried beans myself. We usually use canned beans for all our beany needs, so I had to pick up a package of dried cannellini from the store.

I cooked them with a 4-5 cloves of garlic, a bunch of sage, and some salt, using the Russ Parsons method even though I had already soaked them overnight. In short, his method is to bring the beans to a boil on the stove, then chuck the entire pot, covered, in the oven at 350F and cook till done. I don’t know if it’s the method or the soaking, but these beans were soft at the 30 minute mark! I let them simmer for another 20 minutes in the oven while I cooked up the measly greens from our garden — kale and swiss chard with a clove of garlic.

Cooked beans and greens for dinner. Dry beans do taste better!

The beans were then taken out of the pot with a slotted spoon, to allow the cooking liquid to drain. Dressed up with some quality olive oil, another pinch of salt, and some freshly crushed pepper, they were ready to serve.

Were these beans life-changing? Eaten with a few pieces of toasted bread, they were pretty good! Some of them did have a creamy consistency inside. The only shortcoming is that the skins were tougher than I would like. Maybe next time, adding some baking soda will make the skins as soft as the interior of the bean.

One thing that surprised me was that the bean cooking liquid, only flavored with sage, beans, garlic, and salt, turned into a tasty broth!

Spring Is Here!

Dinner -- Persian Style
Dinner tonight was fresh fava beans with Persian rice and tahdig. It was not bad considering this is the first time I’ve made either of those things. My tahdig skills are still lacking because we didn’t get enough of a rice crust at the bottom, but what we did get was delicious. Adding the leftover fresh herbs (rosemary and tarragon) and some chopped garlic really made the brown rice flavorful.

Shelling the fresh fava beans were a pain, but they were delicious. I should get some more from the middle eastern store up the street while they’re still in season and pretty cheap.

Eating the rice cooked with herbs and fresh beans made it really feel like spring despite it getting a bit chilly tonight.