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Roasted Asparagus Farrotto

Farrotto is farro that has been cooked in the style of risotto. Farro is a whole grain that has a much nuttier, crunchier consistency than Arborio rice used in traditional risotto. Rich in tension-relieving magnesium, farro makes a healthy substitute in this comfort-food favorite. Asparagus adds color and a hearty dose of fiber, but it can also be replaced with pumpkin in the fall or root vegetables in the winter.

Ingredients:

  • 1 lb. (500 g) asparagus, trimmed
  • 1 tsp. plus 2 Tbs. olive oil
  • 1/8 tsp. balsamic vinegar
  • Salt and freshly ground pepper, to taste
  • 4 1/2 cups (36 fl. oz./1.1 l) low-sodium chicken broth
  • 1 small yellow onion, chopped
  • 3 garlic cloves, chopped
  • 2 cups (14 1/2 oz./455 g) farro, rinsed
  • 1/2 cup (4 fl. oz./125 ml) white wine
  • 6 Tbs. (1 1/2 oz./45 g) grated Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese,
      plus more for serving

Directions:

Preheat an oven to 400°F (200°C).

Cut the asparagus into 1-inch (2.5-cm) pieces and toss with the 1 tsp. olive oil and the vinegar. Place in a single layer on a baking sheet and season with salt and pepper. Roast until fork-tender, about 8 minutes. Set aside.

In a small saucepan over low heat, warm the broth. In a medium saucepan over medium heat, warm the 2 Tbs. olive oil. Add the onion and garlic and cook, stirring frequently, until soft, about 5 minutes. Add the farro and stir to combine. Allow the farro to toast for 2 minutes, stirring several times. Add the wine and cook until all the liquid is absorbed, about 5 minutes.

Stir about 1 cup (8 fl. oz./250 ml) of the broth into the farro and cook until the liquid is absorbed, about 5 minutes. Repeat this process until all the broth is incorporated and the farro is tender, about 20 minutes.

Remove the farro from the heat and stir in the asparagus and the 6 Tbs. cheese. Season with salt and pepper and serve immediately, passing additional cheese at the table. Serves 4 to 6.

Adapted from Williams-Sonoma Healthy Dish of the Day, by Kate McMillan (Weldon Owen, 2014).