Tuesday, August 13, 2013

Tomato Parmesan Farro - Caity

I still can't get over my summer produce/Farmer's Market high; I am happily snatching up all the ripe fruits and vegetables that Oregon summer has to offer! I decided to have a couple of college dance friends, Marianna, Amy and her husband Jered, over for dinner last week and I was very excited that I was able to get everything for dinner (except the farro and red pepper flakes) from the Wednesday Farmer's Market downtown. 

I had a great time wandering through the market examining all the items that are different from the Utah Farmer's Market. I was excited to find fresh, locally grown onions, some that were bigger than a softball. I have never seen an onion that big! After deciding an onion that size would last me the better part of a month, I chose a smaller, more reasonably sized onion which I am happy to say was delicious! 

The tomatoes were out in force and I picked up a couple pints of bright red cherry tomatoes intending on trying a recipe for "One-Pot Farro with Tomatoes" I'd seen on the Smitten Kitchen website. The farro came out great and it was so easy! When I say it was easy, I mean it's EASY! When you dish up this farro, it tastes like you've spent hours slaving over the hot stove, delicately adding in each ingredient and stirring it to perfection. What really happened was, you chopped everything up and dumped it in the pot, had a glass of wine and sat down talking to old friends for half an hour. Voila! Dinner! 

As the Smitten Kitchen points out on her website, purchasing farro can be somewhat tricky. Here is a brief excerpt about which farro is the "right" farro for this recipe:

"The trickiest thing in writing this recipe was considering the different types of farro (from an Italian wheat strain known as emmer) available — as well as misconceptions, such as the notion that it can be used interchangeably with spelt (it cannot, as spelt can take hours.). It comes semi-pearled (semi-perlato) and pearled (perlato) — which describes how much of the exterior bran is removed — but packages are not always labeled. However, if your package says it will cook in less than 25 minutes, it’s semi-pearled. If it takes 30 or more minutes and recommends pre-soaking, it is not."

Serves 4 as a side, 2 as a hearty main dish.

what you'll need: 

2 cups water
1 cup semi-pearled farro (sometimes labeled "whole farro", see note above for more info)
1/2 large white onion
2 cloves of garlic
1 pint grape or cherry tomatoes
1-1/4 tsp kosher salt
1/4 tsp crushed red pepper flakes
1 Tbsp. olive oil, plus extra for drizzling
1/2 cup freshly grated Parmesan
Several Basil leaves, cut chiffonade style (see our Caprese recipe for instructions)

Place the farro and the water in a medium sauce pan to soak for 5 to 10 minutes. 

Meanwhile, thinly slice the onion into quarter moons. Thinly slice the two garlic cloves, adding each to the pot as you finish.

Then, halve or quarter the cherry tomatoes. 

Add the cherry tomatoes, salt, red pepper flakes, 1 Tbsp olive oil to the pot. 

Bring the uncovered saucepan to a boil over medium-high heat. Reduce the heat so the water is gently simmering and allow to cook for 30 minutes. 

After 30 minutes, the farro should be tender (but still chewy) and the seasoned cooking water should be almost completely absorbed. Stir in the 1/2 cup parmesan until well mixed. 

Transfer to a wide serving bowl. If your farro is too watery for your taste, use a slotted spoon to leave the amount of liquid you wish behind. Drizzle the farro lightly with olive oil, scatter with basil. Serve immediately. 

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