Wednesday, January 1, 2014

F is for: Farrotto with Pears, Prosciutto & Sage

Helloooooo 2014!

I have a feeling this is going to be a fantastic year, so what better way to kick it off than with my latest favorite creation.

Sometimes the best dishes are the result of improvisation. I knew I wanted to make a Farrotto (sort of like risotto, except with farro), but I hadn't yet decided what kind.

Originally, my plan was to do something with butternut squash and sage, as I had recently made a lasagna for Christmas using those flavors and loved it. However, being hungover this morning and not really wanting to venture out of the house, I decided to go shopping in my refrigerator. I still had some leftover sage from the lasagna, a few pieces of prosciutto leftover from my New Year's charcuterie board, and a pear (which I forgot to add to the board). Suddenly I was in business!



I spied this bag of organic farro at Costco recently and bought it on impulse knowing "F" was coming up in the alphabet on e is for eat. Now did I need a THREE pound bag? Probably not. But I cannot be held responsible for the decisions I make at Costco when I'm hungry and pushing around a gigantic shopping cart.

Farro, pronounced "FAHR-oh," is a healthy whole grain from Italy. It's full of fiber, and even though it's a carb, it's of the complex variety. Look for semi-pearled or pearled farro. It will cook up much faster than the whole grain type. (If you get the whole grain farro, it will require overnight soaking).


I used the same method I do for risotto, and it produced the same results. In a large saute pan, melt 2 tablespoons butter over medium heat and saute onions and until translucent, about 4-5 minutes. Add garlic and cook another minute. Meanwhile, place broth in a medium saucepan and warm over medium-low heat. Cover and keep on low simmer. (It's better to add warm broth to the farro instead of cold, so keep it warming on a back burner to use as needed).


Stir in farro and cook for another 2-3 minutes until lightly toasted. Season with a little salt and pepper. Add wine and cook until it has been completely absorbed.


Begin adding warm broth, about 1/2 cup at a time to the farro. Cook until it has been absorbed, stirring occasionally. Continue repeating this process, adding 1/2 cup of broth at a time and allowing farro to absorb it.


In the meantime, prepare the other ingredients. In a small saute pan over medium heat, melt remaining 2 tablespoons of butter and saute prosciutto, pears and sage until prosciutto is crispy and pears are slightly soft, but still have a little bite to them. If you want, add a little broth and deglaze the pan so you get all of those yummy brown bits to add to the risotto. Also reserve about 1/4 cup of this mixture for garnish. About 2/3 of the way through the process of cooking the farro, stir in the pear/prosciutto/sage mixture, and continue adding the broth, 1/2 cup at a time until the farro is cooked to al dente. (You may not use all of the broth).

(*note... to only dirty one pan, you could do this before you start the farrotto and just remove the mixture from the pan until it's time to stir it in. I wasn't thinking that far ahead, so I just did it in a separate pan while the farro was cooking).


When you feel your farro is close to being cooked to al dente, add in 1/4 cup of freshly grated Parmesan cheese. I also had some arugula in the fridge, so I added a couple handfuls of that for some color and for an added flavor dimension. I love how the arugula added a fresh and peppery taste to the finished dish, but if you're not an arugula fan, you can skip this (perhaps sub with a little bit of chopped parsley). I also think some gorgonzola might be good here, as it pairs well with pears and prosciutto, but it was also delicious just the way I made it.


Serve your farrotto topped with reserved pear/prosciutto/sage and a few leaves of arugula and some more Parmesan cheese. I love, love, loved this dish. It was sweet, savory, nutty, and creamy. Everything a risotto (or farrotto) should be! Who says I didn't need a three pound bag? Can't wait to make it again soon. Buon Appetito!

(P.S. Thanks cuzin Erin for my custom "e is for eat" towels!)

Farrotto with Pears, Prosciutto & Sage

by Jaymee Sire
Prep Time: 15 minutes
Cook Time: 45 minutes
Keywords: saute entree side arugula prosciutto pears farro Italian

Ingredients (2 entree servings or 4 side se)
  • 4-5 cups chicken broth
  • 4 tablespoons butter, divided use
  • 1 small onion, diced
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 cup semi-pearled farro
  • salt & pepper
  • 1/2 cup dry white wine
  • 4 slices prosciutto, chopped
  • 1 Bosc pear, diced
  • 1.5 teaspoons finely chopped sage
  • 1/4 cup freshly grated Parmesan
Optional add-ins:
  • 2-3 handfuls arugula
  • 1/4 cup Gorgonzola crumbles
Instructions
  1. Place broth in a medium saucepan and warm over medium-low heat. Cover and keep on low simmer.
  2. In a large saute pan, melt 2 tablespoons butter over medium heat and saute onions and until translucent, about 4-5 minutes. Add garlic and cook another minute. Stir in farro and cook for another 2-3 minutes. Season with a little salt and pepper. Add wine and cook until it has been completely absorbed.
  3. Begin adding warm broth, about 1/2 cup at a time to the farro. Cook until it has been absorbed, stirring occasionally. Continue repeating this process, adding 1/2 cup of broth at a time and allowing farro to absorb it.
  4. In the meantime, prepare the other ingredients. In a small saute pan over medium heat, melt remaining 2 tablespoons of butter and saute prosciutto, pears and sage until prosciutto is crispy and pears are slightly soft, but still have a little bite to them. Reserve about 1/4 cup of this mixture for garnish.
  5. About 2/3 of the way through the process of cooking the farro, stir in the pear/prosciutto/sage mixture, and continue adding the broth, 1/2 cup at a time until the farro is cooked to al dente. (You may not use all of the broth). Stir in Parmesan and any additional add-ins (such as arugula and/or Gorgonzola).
  6. Serve and top with reserved pears/prosciutto/sage, additional grated Parmesan and a couple arugula leaves. Enjoy!
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