Farro Risotto with Asparagus and Tofu

Grainy goodness with faro, mushrooms, asparagus, and tofu

Grainy goodness with faro, mushrooms, asparagus, and tofu

Before I get into this recipe, let me first say, I’m happy to be back!  I was away with work and family travel for a few weeks and, oh how I missed my food blog and foodie friends. I thought about the posts I would do when I got back, so get ready, because I have lots of ideas.  Also, a big thank you to my blog partner Edie for keeping the posts coming while I was away!

Next, let’s get started with this delicious vegetarian, über grainy recipe.  If you haven’t tried farro, it is a great grain to add to your repertoire with one caveat, it takes a while to cook. It’s not the easy-peasy quinoa that you throw in a pot of water and it’s cooked before you even have time to grab a fork or a spoon. This requires a little more time and effort, so plan ahead.

Next, it is grainy. Did I mention that already? Well, it’s worth re-iterating.  I kept thinking it wasn’t cooked, but in the end I realized, it is just chewy.  You won’t have to try to eat this meal slow because there is no other choice!  I love it and I think you will too.  I added asparagus, dried mushrooms, and of course, cubed tofu (which I seem to add to just about everything!), but you can add whatever you like.

Ingredients

1 oz. dried mushrooms (any kind will do)
1 lb. asparagus
4 Tbsp extra virgin olive oil
5 cups vegetable stock (you can use the water left over from soaking the mushrooms as part of this vegetable stock, plus a vegetable stock – see below)
1 1/2 cups uncooked farro
1 small onion, chopped
2 cloves garlic, minced
4 oz. variety of mushrooms (shiitake, chanterelle, crimini, oyster, porcini), sliced
1/2 cup dry white wine
1 tsp fresh thyme
1/4 cup grated fresh Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese
1/4 cup fresh flat-leaf parsley, chopped
Salt & pepper to taste

Method

Place dried mushrooms in medium bowl and cover with boiling water. Let stand 30 minutes or until tender.  Drain and coarsely chop.  Use mushroom water as part of vegetable stock if desired.

Toss asparagus in 2 Tbsp olive oil on baking sheet and roast in 425 degree oven for 10 minutes or until tender, stirring half way through.  Cut stalks into thirds and set aside to add to farro later.

Sauté cubed tofu in a little olive oil with the smallest dash of cayenne pepper. Set aside to add to farro later (you can totally skip the tofu if this adds too much work).

Bring vegetable broth to a simmer in a small saucepan. Keep stock warm over low heat.

Heat remaining olive oil in Dutch oven over medium heat.  Add farro and onion; cook 5 minutes, stirring occasionally. Add garlic and cook 1 minute, stirring constantly.  Add all mushrooms (rehydrated and fresh).  Cook 5 minutes or until mushrooms are tender, stirring occasionally.  Add wine and thyme and cook until liquid almost evaporates.

Add 1/2 cup broth to farro mixture; cook over medium heat for approximately 4 minutes or until the liquid is almost absorbed, stirring occasionally.  Add remaining 4 1/2 cups broth, 1/2 cup at a time until liquid is almost absorbed each time, stirring occasionally. This will take about 50 minutes so you are definitely committed for the long haul, but as stated above, it is worth it.

Add salt and pepper to taste.

Once farro is cooked, add in asparagus, cubed tofu, and top with fresh parsley and cheese.

Cooked and ready to CHEW!

Cooked and ready to CHEW!

Prep for adding later

Prep for adding later

Pre-cooked Farro sautéing in oil

Pre-cooked Farro sautéing in oil

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