Farro Risotto

Oh my!  This is one of the best side dishes I've had!  I think I saw this recipe first on Pinterest.  I pinned it and with the weather getting cooler, it sounded like the perfect thing to try this week.

Note to self, read the directions carefully!  Do not just read the ingredients and think "oh that sounds good I'm going to make that tomorrow"!  Why?  This recipe took 45 minutes to put together!  Don't get me wrong, it's totally worth it, but after work, when you have a cake order to do and still have to log back into work, well, maybe 45 minutes for the side dish is a little ambitious.  It didn't stop me though!

Here is a LINK to the recipe.

As I mentioned, it was the ingredients that piqued my interest, butternut squash, sage, farro, shallots, garlic, thyme, wine and, oh yea, mushrooms.  I don't like mushrooms.  I don't mind the flavor of a mushroom so much but the texture just gets to me.  My mother and I used to argue about getting them on pizza.  She'd tell me they don't taste like anything and I'd reply with "if they don't taste like anything why are we paying extra for them"?  I learned at an early age to pick mushrooms out of my food!

The squash in this recipe is roasted, one of my favorite preparations!  You simply toss it with some olive oil, salt and pepper and throw it in the oven while you make the rest of the preparations.

Farro is one of my favorite grains.  It's very easy to prepare and has a nice nutty flavor.  I like it warm or cold, mixed with things or all on its own.  A little of the cooking water is retained for a later step!

The mushrooms (yuk) are sauteed in olive oil for a few minutes then set aside.  In the same pan, in three tablespoons of butter, shallots, garlic and thyme are sauteed.  That smelled really good!

The recipe instructs you to then add the farro and toss until every kernel is coated with butter.  How did I do?

Then the white wine is added, another kitchen aroma I just love!  I used a nice Fess Parker Chardonnay!
Now the tough part, the stirring, and stirring, and stirring as two cups of liquid (chicken stock and the reserved farro cooking water) are slowly added to the farro.  The process of adding the two cups of stock, 1/4 cup at a time, took about half an hour!  Lucky for me I had my flu shot today and needed to keep my left arm moving!

During this process a little of the white wine fell into a glass and little slivers of the Parmesan cheese kept sliding off the chunk!
Finally the cooked squash and mushrooms are added along with a cup and a half of shredded Parmesan cheese and a little creme fraiche and chopped sage.  At this point you are instructed to season with salt and pepper.  I tasted it and with all that Parmesan, no salt was needed for me!

Was it worth the time and effort?  YES!  It is delicious!  I didn't even pick the mushrooms out!  I think it could be made with less cheese (or even no cheese it was pretty good even before that was added!) and more squash.  I love squash!  It has a nice earthy flavor from the mushrooms (still don't like the texture but they added a great flavor to this dish) and the squash is sweet.  If you need a different side dish for Thanksgiving this year, this might be the one!  That is, of course if you have time to stand and stir!

This was the perfect side to pork tenderloin grilled with some Penzey's Galena Street Rub! 


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