This insanely creamy recipe for parmesan farro combines broth, onion, Italian cheeses, parsley, butter, and farro to create a simple yet incredibly healthy and filling farro meal your family will cheer!
This meal’s perfect for cold winter nights when you need a little something to warm you up. You can also enjoy it as a savory power breakfast, along with a few strips of seasoned fried tempeh.
One of the Best Simple Farro Recipes
As a true farro lover, I understand that not everyone knows its existence. It’s not as familiar as pasta and rice, but this starch delivers the same goodness with a boost of nutty flavor, texture, and whole-grain power!
Plus, you can prepare farro in so many different ways. However, one of my all-time favorites has to be this simple recipe for creamy parmesan farro. It’s a savory stovetop risotto dish made with farro, onion, garlic, and broth then finished with Italian cheeses and fresh parsley.
This dish has the texture of creamy oatmeal but offers a much nutter and more flavorful taste than regular oats. Plus, the broth, cheese, and onion give it a wonderful complexity that will have everyone asking for seconds and thirds.
What is Farro and Is It Healthy?
Farro is another delicious ancient whole-grain form of wheat grown in the Mediterranean, and it’s either the emmer, spelled, or einkorn variety. Emmer is the variety most commonly grown in the region. It has a chewy texture and tasty nutty flavor that can add a lot of new life to many rice and pasta recipes. Plus, it’s super easy to prepare and packed with protein and fiber.
It looks much like barley, although farro is larger and has a more oblong shape. But, farro, like barley, has a chewer texture when cooked. Both grains are interchangeable in many recipes, but keep in mind that, like other grains, farro does contain gluten.
Like other ancient grains such as kaniwa, freekeh, and Kamut, farro has seen a revival in America as more people discover its delicious flavor and health benefits. Farro contains:
- B vitamins such as niacin
- Antioxidants (found in a few emmer varieties)
Farro is a fantastic alternative to refined grains such as white rice and even provides more nutrients and vitamins than quinoa. However, farro does have more carbohydrates. It’s a great choice for diabetics since it doesn’t raise blood sugar as much as refined carbohydrates like pasta and potatoes. And a study from 2018 shows that emmer grains grown in North Dakota offer antihyperglycemic properties, which can help lower high blood sugar.
And while farro can be whole-grain, that’s not always the case. It largely depends on how the manufacturer processes it. Three types of farro can buy in stores include:
- Pearled farro: Contains zero bran.
- Semi-pearled farro: Contains a little bran.
- Whole-grain farro: Contains an outer layer of bran.
Farro is often added to salads, soups, and other dishes. Certain varieties can also be used in baked goods like bread.
You can find farro in most grocery stores, and it’s super-easy to cook.
The traditional way to cook farro is on the stovetop in a pot. It’s usually cooked in a lightly-salted liquid like broth or water until it’s soft (yet remains al dente). The liquid becomes absorbed into the grain, influencing the flavor.
One method of cooking farro I recommend is cooking all of your ingredients in one pot giving farro an amazing creaminess.
What is the Best Liquid Ratio to Cook Farro?
Consult the directions on the farro package for the recommended ratio of broth or water to farro. Generally, the ratio is one part farro to three parts broth or water.
But you can experiment with the ratio to create your ideal level of thickness and creaminess. If you discover your farro looks a bit dry toward the end, you can always add more broth or water.
If you desire your farro to be a bit grainier, try using one part farro to 2 and a half parts liquid for dishes such as salads.
The recipe for parmesan farro that I share below requires a creamier texture instead of drier farro.
Parmesan Farro: The Recipe‘s Origin Story
Frankies Sputino is among one of the best Italian restaurants in Brooklyn, New York. It’s located in Carroll Gardens, deep into Court Street. Frankies is one of those down-home Italian restaurants where you can walk in day or night to enjoy their honest, simple, traditional Italian dishes such as gnocchi marinara, escarole and beans, and their famous meatballs.
At one time, Frankies served a rather unassuming side dish: a steaming bowl of farro cooked in a delicious broth with lots of cheese, butter, onion, and a hint of parsley. Unfortunately, this item is no longer on the menu and is unlikely ever to return.
One cook, haunted by the absence of their favorite side dish, decided to recreate this delicious farro recipe at home. Fortunately, Frankies specializes in simple dishes, so they were able to reconstruct a homemade version that’s every bit as delicious and filling as the original.
Recipe Notes for Parmesan Farro
This farro risotto recipe is pretty straightforward. You basically put all the ingredients into one pot and cook them, folding in some cheese, butter, and parsley toward the end. It’s super simple, but the following notes will help ensure that you make it perfect.
The farro’s final consistency should be super-creamy, like steel-oats oatmeal, perhaps even a little brothy. Your farro should have a soft texture that retains al dente properties.
The grated cheeses used in this recipe have a considerable amount of sodium, so hold off on adding more seasoning into you’ve added your cheeses. The recipe includes a combination of pecorino Romano and Parmigiano Reggiano. However, if you choose only to use one, I recommend going with the pecorino Ramono.
And while the parsley may appear to be little more than a garnish, the minced parsley’s flavor lightens up the deep umami flavor of the farro while giving the meal a lovely splash of color.
Now, you can enjoy this incredible side dish inspired by a popular Brooklyn Italian restaurant at home.
If You Want More Recipes with Farro to Love, Then Try These Farro Soup, Bowl, and Salad Recipes.
- Warm farro salad recipe with goat cheese, butternut squash, and cherry tomatoes
- Farro salad with feta and Brussels sprouts
- Mediterranean farro salad
- Farro soup with fresh herbs and porcini mushrooms
- Italian farro salad
- Hearty Cooked Farro grain bowl
- Farro Kale arugula salad with feta and dried cranberries (with a squeeze of lemon juice)
- Farro with parmesan cheese, fresh thyme, and wild mushrooms
- Instant pot mushroom farro risotto
Frequently Asked Questions
What are some top vegetarian farro dishes?
There are several delicious vegetarian farro dishes you can try. Some popular options include farro risotto with mushrooms, farro salad with roasted vegetables, and farro and spinach soup. These dishes offer a satisfying and flavorful combination of textures and flavors, perfect for a nutritious meatless meal. Don’t hesitate to get creative with your ingredients and seasonings to fit your personal tastes.
How do you cook farro for salads?
To cook farro for salads, start by rinsing the farro under cold water. Next, combine 1 cup of farro with 3 cups of water or vegetable broth in a saucepan. Bring the mixture to a boil, then reduce the heat and simmer for about 30 minutes, or until the farro is tender. For salads, you’ll want the farro to have a slightly chewy texture. Once cooked, drain any excess liquid and let the farro cool to room temperature before adding it to your salad.
What are your favorite farro side dishes?
There are numerous tasty farro side dishes to choose from. Some favorites include farro pilaf with herbs and dried fruits, farro and kale stir-fry, and farro-stuffed bell peppers. These side dishes are great for adding variety and nutrition to your meals. Experiment with different flavors and ingredients to find the best farro side dishes for your preferences.
Which easy farro dishes are most popular?
Easy farro dishes that are popular among home cooks include farro and vegetable stir-fries, one-pot farro with tomatoes and onions, and Greek farro salad with feta and olives. These dishes are relatively simple to prepare and provide a satisfying meal. By incorporating various ingredients and seasonings, you can easily create enjoyable farro-centric dishes in no time.
What is the nutritional value of farro?
Farro is a nutritious grain that boasts a variety of health benefits. It is high in protein, fiber, and essential nutrients like magnesium, zinc, and B vitamins. Additionally, farro is a complex carbohydrate, meaning it provides longer-lasting energy and helps keep you full for an extended period. Incorporating farro into your meals can offer a satisfying and nutritious option for those seeking to maintain a balanced diet.
How does farro compare to rice in terms of health benefits?
When comparing farro to rice, it’s essential to recognize that each grain offers different nutritional profiles. Overall, farro is generally higher in protein, fiber, and essential nutrients than rice, making it a more nutrient-dense option. However, rice—especially brown rice—still provides valuable nutrients and can be part of a healthy diet. The choice between farro and rice will depend on your personal preferences, dietary needs, and meal plans.
Creamy Parmesan Farro Made on Stovetop
- 1 Medium yellow onion diced small
- 2 Tbsp of extra-virgin olive oil
- 1 ½ Cups of farro
- 2 Cups of unsalted chicken stock
- 2 Large garlic cloves peeled and smashed
- 1 Cup of cold water
- 3 Tbsp of unsalted butter
- 1 ½ Tsp of kosher salt or salt to taste
- Freshly-ground black pepper to taste
- ¼ Cup of grated Pecorino-Romano cheese
- ¼ Cup grated Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese
- ½ Cup of parsley minced and loosely packed (including stems and leaves
- Heat your olive oil inside a medium-sized pot. Next, add your onion and begin cooking over medium heat. Stir the onions until they are translucent, which should take up to five minutes.
- Add in your garlic and farro. Toast the farro for 1-2 minutes. Stir them often to allow an even oil coat and for them to cook evenly.
- Now, add in your chicken stock, 1 cup of cold water, and kosher salt. Bring everything to a boil before lowering the pot to a simmer and cooking for around 30 minutes. Stir the mixture occasionally just until your farro's texture reaches al dente absorbing most of the fluid. Pro-Tip: I highly recommend the Diamond Krystal Kosher salt brand, that's preferred by most professional chefs and recipe inventors.
- Remove pot from heat. Stir in your unsalted butter, then add in 12 turns of freshly ground black pepper.
- Scoop into bowls and serve. Top with your remaining cheese and a few pieces of parsley (optional).
FAQs: Farro Recipes
Which cooking method is preferred when cooking the grain farro?
While there are many ways you can cook farro, such as pressure cooking, boiling remains the most popular because of how the farro absorbs liquids. This method is super easy and quick and is often called instapot farro.
What does farro taste good with?
Farro is fantastic as a side dish along with roasted or grilled vegetables or as part of a salad, such as kale or broccoli salad. It’s also delicious with marinated tempeh or tofu and can be an amazing substitute for dishes with barley, such as soups.
What texture should cooked farro be?
The best texture for cooked farro is chewy but tender. However, if you wish for softer and less chewy farro, you can always simmer a couple of minutes longer until it’s at the desired texture.
Is farro a carb or protein?
Farro is a grain, which is a carb that’s relatively high in protein (5 grams per serving) compared to white and brown rice, which has 1.5 grams of protein within ⅓ cup. Those with gluten allergies should be aware that it does contain gluten.
Do you cook farro covered or uncovered?
Most recipes call for cooking farro uncovered on the stovetop over medium heat for about 30 minutes or until it becomes soft.
What is the difference between pearled farro and regular farro?
In the U.S., pearled farro is almost always sold in stores, meaning the bran is removed, making it so the farro requires less time to cook. Whole farro maintains the grain’s whole bran, while semi-pearled farro still has some bran and is the most popular form of farro in Italy.
How should farro taste when cooked?
Farro should have a chewy texture with a bit of a nutty flavor with notes of cinnamon and cashew. The cinnamon flavor adds a hint of sweetness, while the grain’s nutty taste gives it an earthy warmth. It’s a fantastic substitute for your morning oatmeal or can be served as a dinner side dish.