Farro Risotto with Asparagus and Fava Beans
This risotto is so packed full of fresh spring veggies, it’s all you’ll need to accompany Roasted Rack of Lamb for a light spring dinner or Easter meal. The farro makes it hearty enough to double as a delicious vegetarian main dish as well.
What to buy: Farro is a whole-grain relative of wheat and spelt with a flavor reminiscent of hazelnuts and barley. When cooked, each grain retains a firm, chewy texture, which makes this risotto practically impossible to overcook. You can find farro in most Italian grocery stores and in the bulk section of many health food stores, but if you’re coming up empty-handed, spelt will make a decent substitute.
This recipe was featured as part of our Supercharge with Superfoods photo gallery.
- 1 cup farro
- 12 ounces asparagus, trimmed and sliced 1/2 inch thick on the bias (about 3 cups)
- 1 pound whole fava beans, shelled (about 1 heaping cup)
- 2 cups low-sodium vegetable broth or water
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
- 2 medium shallots, minced
- Freshly ground black pepper
- 2/3 cup dry white wine
- Finely grated zest of 1 lemon (about 1 packed teaspoon)
- 2 tablespoons finely chopped fresh tarragon leaves
- 3 tablespoons finely chopped fresh Italian parsley leaves
- 2 tablespoons unsalted butter
1Soak the farro in cold water for 20 minutes, drain in a colander, and rinse well. Bring a large pot of heavily salted water to a boil over medium-high heat, add the farro, and simmer for 20 minutes. Drain the farro, then cool it by rinsing under cold water; set aside.
2Clean the pot used to boil the farro and refill with water, salt heavily, and bring to a boil over high heat. Add the asparagus and cook until just tender, about 3 minutes. Remove the asparagus and place in a single layer on a large plate or baking sheet to cool. Return the water to a boil and add the shelled fava beans; cook until tender but not soft, about 1 minute. Drain and rinse under cold water until the beans are cool enough to touch. Remove the thin, pale green skin that covers each bean and discard. Place the skinned beans on the plate or baking sheet with the asparagus.
3Heat the vegetable broth or water in a small saucepan over medium-high heat until it comes to a simmer, then reduce the heat to low so the broth is at a bare simmer while you prepare the risotto.
4Heat the olive oil in a medium saucepan over medium-high heat. When it shimmers, add the shallots and season with salt and pepper. Cook, stirring occasionally, until the shallots are softened but not browned, about 2 minutes. Add the cooked farro and stir to coat in the oil; cook until the outer coating of the farro grains is glossy and a toasty aroma rises from the pot, about 3 minutes. Add the wine and stir until it has evaporated.
5Add a ladleful of warm broth and cook, stirring frequently, until the farro has almost completely absorbed it, about 2 minutes. Add another ladleful of broth and stir until almost all of it has been absorbed. (Do not let the pan get dry—there should be a constant veil of stock over the farro at all times.) Continue adding ladlefuls of broth, stirring frequently and tasting regularly, until the farro is tender but firm to the bite (the indentation in the farro grain will open and puff when completely cooked), about 15 to 20 minutes.
6Remove the saucepan from heat and gently fold in the reserved asparagus and fava beans, lemon zest, tarragon, parsley, and butter. Taste and, if necessary, season with more salt and pepper.
Beverage pairing: Venica Collio Pinot Grigio, Italy. Bright green flavors of spring call for a wine that has the same. This light Pinot Grigio has great acidity, but also a little creaminess to stand up to the heartiness of the farro.
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