Sometimes things just happen. Like this dish. I was hunting for a recipe for dinner, perusing the indices of my favorite cookbooks (I know! Cookbooks! Not online recipe perusing!) looking up foods I knew I had in the house. Pork chops, ground beef, zucchini, etc. Finally, when reading names of recipes with cauliflower, this one jumped out at me.
I’m not new to farro risotto. The first time I had it was at a spectacular restaurant in Seattle named Lark. If you are in Seattle don’t miss it. We ordered the most delicious farro mushroom risotto. It was rich and creamy thickened with decadent marscarpone. I grilled the waiter for the ingredients and managed to succesfully replicate it at home. Yes. Me. Replicated a recipe from one of the top chefs in Seattle. Booyah.
So when I saw the recipe I was so excited to make it. It got bonus points because I didn’t even have to go to the grocery store to buy any ingredients. You keep farro on hand too right? No. Oh. Go buy some. It is an amazing ancient Italian grain. Chewy, nutty, filling. The risotto doesn’t cook up exactly like a arborio rice risotto as it is much chewier but it does get that lovely creamy texture from the butter and cheese. Don’t skimp on either.
I was just going to fix this for dinner, which meant no post or photos because it would be too dark by the time we sit down to eat. However, after I mentioned on facebook that I was making this recipe, I had a friend ask me to post about it. Little was particularly unruly yesterday afternoon but risotto needs wine. I wasn’t going to turn down an opportunity to open a bottle of wine at 2:30 in the afternoon. I pulled down my bin of staging linens for Little to play with, opened that bottle of wine, and got the stock simmering.
Oh my goodness was it ever worth it. The farro takes a while to cook but unlike rice risotto you don’t need to stir it constantly. Give a stir every few minutes or so. It is ridiculously tasty. The lemon and bay in the stock give it depth and brightness. The farro chewiness is spectacular and the cauliflower adds another layer of texture. The cheese and butter hold it all together and give it that much needed creamy risotto like quality. Oh. My. Yum.
A perfect main for a light dinner. A perfect side to any meal.
Farro and Cauliflower Risotto (serves 3-4 as a main, 5-6 as a side)
from Gourmet Today cookbook
5 1/2 cups stock (I used chicken but you could use vegetable)
1 bay leaf
1 strip of lemon zest removed with a vegetable pealer
2 tsp fresh lemon juice
4 tbs unsalted butter
1/2 small onion, finely chopped
1 1/2 cup farro
1/2 cup dry white wine
2 cups chopped cauliflower
1/2 cup grated Parmesan, plus more to taste
Freshly ground black pepper
Combine stock, bay leaf, lemon zest and lemon juice in a small saucepan. Bring to a simmer. Reduce heat but keep at a simmer.
Melt 2 tbs of butter in a large sauce pan over medium high heat. Add the one and cook till translucent, 4 to 5 minutes. Add the farro and cook, stirring, for a minute. Add wine, bring to a simmer, and simmer, stirring, until all the liquid is absorbed. Add the cauliflower and 1 cup of stock. Keep it at a strong simmer stirring often. Continue cooking and stirring adding 1 cup of stock at a time as the liquid is absorbed. After about 25 minutes of cooking taste the farro. You are aiming for chewy. Once it reaches your desired tenderness remove from the heat (you may have leftover stock). Stir in the cheese, remaining butter, salt and pepper to taste.