Asparagus, Artichoke and Herb Farrotto
Farrotto is the name for risotto made with farro, a delicious and nutritious grain. First, the farro is toasted in a skillet and then warmed broth is added in increments until the mixture is creamy. Farrotto is best served fresh from the pot, but if you want to rewarm it, you can add warmed broth (try 1/4 cup/2 fl. oz./60 ml at a time). Serve with a warm baguette and a chunk of Parmesan cheese.
- 1 lb. (500 g) asparagus, ends trimmed, stalks cut into 1-inch (2.5-cm) pieces
- Up to 4 cups (32 fl. oz./1 l) low-sodium vegetable broth
- 2 Tbs. olive oil
- 2 shallots, minced
- 2 garlic cloves, minced
- 1 cup (7 1/4 oz./230 g) farro
- 1/2 cup (4 fl. oz./125 ml) dry white wine
- 1 can (14 oz./440 g) artichoke hearts, drained and quartered
- 2 Tbs. chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley
- 2 Tbs. chopped fresh basil
- Kosher salt and freshly ground pepper
- 1/4 cup (1 oz./30 g) grated Parmesan cheese
Bring a large pot of generously salted water to a boil over high heat. Add the asparagus and cook until crisp-tender, about 2 minutes. Drain, rinse under cold water and drain again. Set aside.
In a small saucepan over low heat, warm the broth.
In a large saucepan over medium-high heat, warm the olive oil. Add the shallots and sauté until soft, about 3 minutes. Add the garlic and cook until softened, about 1 minute more. Stir in the farro and toast, stirring often, for about 3 minutes. Add the wine and simmer until the liquid reduces by half, about 1 minute.
Reduce the heat to medium. Using a ladle, add about 1/2 cup (4 fl. oz./125 ml) of the warm broth at a time, stirring often and allowing each addition to be absorbed before adding the next ladleful of broth. This process will take about 40 minutes.
When the farro is just shy of al dente, add the asparagus, artichoke hearts and the last ladleful of broth. Cook, stirring occasionally, until the vegetables are heated through and just tender, about 3 minutes. Remove the pan from the heat, stir in the cheese and herbs, season with salt and pepper, and serve immediately. Serves 4 to 6.
Adapted from Williams Sonoma School Night, by Kate McMillan (Weldon Owen 2015)