Thursday, December 22, 2011

Cayuga Pure Organic's farro for farrotto!

Cayuga Pure Organics is one of the few growers of farro in the United States.  Farro is emmer, one of the oldest varieties of wheat that grows wild and was first cultivated in the Near East. This grain was used in bread and beer in Ancient Egypt and is one of five acceptable grains that can be used in matzah during passover.  Farro is often used to describe other grains such as spelt, barley, and einkorn; incorrect translations of literature contribute to this misnomer. 

I enjoy using CPO's farro in many dishes, it holds up better than rice in soups and imparts a nutty sweetness and pleasant chewiness.  Italian cuisine has farrotto, a risotto style dish using farro.  I find that it works best to crack the grain gently in a spice grinder or food processor, this helps release the starch to create that creamy risotto like texture.  I've created a nice mushroom farrotto recipe, using wonderful Double E Farms shitake mushrooms and CPO's farmer fresh farro!  Serve this as an awesome side dish or main dish at you holiday table this season!

Shitake Mushroom Farrotto
By Hans Butler
1 cup CPO farro
2 Tbsp sunflower oil (reserve half for sautéing mushrooms)
1/2 cup onion – diced (reserve half for sautéing mushrooms)
2 cloves of garlic – minced (reserve half for sautéing mushrooms)
Salt and pepper- to taste
½ tsp thyme- dried
2 Tbsp porcini powder
¼ dry white wine
1 Meyer lemon- zested and juiced
4-5 cups stock – kept warm on the stove

1 Tbsp unsalted butter
7-8oz Double E Farm’s shitake mushrooms – stems removed and minced, caps halved
Salt and pepper- to taste

¼ cup Toma Celena cheese- grated
1)      In a spice grinder or food processor gently crack the farro, rinse and soak farro for 1 hour.
2)      Heat a medium sized pot over medium high heat and add the drained farro, dry the farro in the pot and stir intermittently to toast the grains
3)      Add oil, ¼ of diced onions, 1 minced clove of garlic, minced shitake stems, salt and pepper, and thyme – sauté over medium heat until the onions are golden brown (about 1 minute)
4)      Add porcini powder, wine, and lemon zest – cook until the wine has evaporated
5)      Add 1 ½ cups of heated stock and adjust heat to just below medium, stirring occasionally.  When the stock has been absorbed add another ½ stock and repeat this process until the farrotto has absorbed most of the liquid and has a creamy and chewy texture – almost like very thick porridge
6)      Heat a sauté pan over medium high heat, add butter and reserved sunflower oil
7)      When the oil is hot and the butter melted add reserved onions and garlic, sauté until golden brown (about 1 minute)
8)      Add the halved shitake mushroom caps and season with salt and pepper, sauté until the liquid released from the mushrooms has evaporated and remove from heat
9)      Add ½ the lemon juice to farrotto, taste and adjust seasoning- you may want more lemon  juice, salt, or pepper
10)  To serve put desired amount of risotto on a plate, top with the sautéed shitake mushrooms and a sprinkle of grated cheese.

Yields 3-4 cups

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