So you could say I've been into the quinoa foodie fad-- one plank of the "ancient grain" craze. Quinoa is delicious, nutritious, and versatile what can I say. I'm troubled by all the articles talking about how demand for this seed (it's not a grain actually) by rich Americans has caused the price to rise, making this Bolivian staple out of reach now for regular Bolivians. The politics of food is a complicated thing. I'll leave it to actual experts to write about that.
But anyways, to Farro, the "original" grain. Apparently American foodies have recently discovered it and Italians have rediscovered it and it's now appearing on menus (and blogs and all over the inter-web) like crazy. So earlier this winter I bought a bag of it and then forgot about it until this weekend, when I was unloading groceries and noticed it in the cupboard... so I moved the bag to the counter where it sat until tonight.
So, this grain is delicious. It's wheaty tasting, slightly nutty with an awesome chewy texture. I was eating it plain out of the pot. It would be great warm with just some butter or olive oil and salt. But I wanted to turn it into a one pot meal for myself, with leftovers for lunches. Here's my creation that turned out quite good but warning: this dish is NOT pretty.
Creamy Greens Farro
Makes about three main dish servings.
1 cup of farro
1 tablespoon olive oil
2 large cloves of garlic
1 stalk of broccoli, chopped
1 can of great northern beans
Handful of spinach
About a half cup of tomatoes (I used a handful of grape tomatoes)
Salt & fresh pepper
Vegetable stock or water
This is really easy to make-- the only trick is you first need to soak the farro. Cover it with cold water and soak for 20-30 minutes. Then drain, cover again with water, bring to a boil, reduce to a simmer and simmer uncovered for 20 minutes. You can cook it longer if you like it softer, but I found this amount of cooking perfect.
While the farro is cooking, saute the onions in the olive oil. Once they begin to soften add the garlic and broccoli and saute for several minutes. Once the onions are browning and the broccoli is bright green add the beans, spinach and tomatoes, a generous portion of pepper and some salt, and enough vegetable stock to deglaze the pan (about a 1/2 cup). Turn the heat up, stir the mixture so that the spinach wilts and everything is heated through. Then turn the heat off and put the contents of the pan into the blender or food processor. Add a splash of soy sauce and lemon juice and blend until creamy. Taste for seasonings and add any additional salt or pepper.
Combine the cooked farro and creamy greens together in a bowl. Serve this stew-like dish in small bowls. This is filling as it is very high fiber and high protein. Perfect for a winter night.