At the beginning of this year, Tom and I decided to start making more of an effort to cook recipes from our Recipes To Try Pinterest Board. Each weekend, we each pick 1-2 recipes, and then buy the ingredients when we do our usual farmers’ market shopping routine. If the recipe works, we move it to our Recipe Success board.
One of the first recipes I tried as part of this project was a Farro Risotto recipe from Saveur. In addition to farro, it includes shitake mushrooms, butternut squash, and fresh thyme and sage. We’d made farro before, but it was our first time making a farro risotto.
We got our fresh shitake mushrooms from Davidson Exotics, and our butternut squash from Beechwood Orchards, both at the Rittenhouse Farmers’ Market. The first step was to roast the chopped butternut squash with sage. While that’s cooking, you cook the farro for 15 minutes, as you normally would if you were just making farro without turning it into risotto. After cooking the farro, you reserve 1 cup of cooking liquid. Next, you sauté the shitake mushrooms and set them aside.
To start the risotto, you melt butter and cook a base of shallots, garlic, and thyme, then add the farro to coat. At this point, you add 1/2 cup white wine and cook until the wine is simmered off. Next, you turn down the heat and alternate adding 1/4 cup chicken broth and 1/4 cup cooking liquid, stirring continuously and waiting for the liquid to be absorbed before adding the next 1/4 cup. While the Saveur recipe says this takes about 25-30 minutes, I think it took about twice that long. At the end, after all the liquid has been added and absorbed, you stir back in the squash and mushrooms, fold in some parmesan cheese, and then serve, garnished with more fresh sage.
Altogether this recipe took about 2 hours, but it was well worth it. You can’t go wrong with the combination of butternut squash and sage, and shitake mushrooms are a wonderful complement. Using farro instead of rice adds to the heartiness and earthiness of the dish. Though a little time consuming, the recipe is quite easy. Perfect for a winter day!