Farro Risotto with Basil

Karen, FamilyStyle Food

Farro is a wonderful grain to add to your pantry. Resembling short grain brown rice or barley, it has a great nutty flavor, satisfying texture and cooks in around 20 minutes.

I like to cook farro risotto-style on nights when I don’t have time to tend to the pot in the way a risotto made with the traditional Arborio rice requires, or when I’d rather feature a whole grain for dinner. This recipe serves well as a vegetarian entrée, or as a side dish for any kind of meat or lean protein.

Farro Risotto with Basil
By Karen
Makes 4-6 servings


2 cups farro
3 tablespoons butter
½ onion, finely chopped
2 garlic cloves, finely chopped
½ teaspoon crushed red chile
1 (14 oz) can crushed or chopped tomatoes
1/2 cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese
1 1/2 cups cooked or canned cannellini beans, drained
¼ cup fresh basil leaves, roughly chopped


Cook the farro in a large saucepan of boiling water seasoned with 2 teaspoons salt; check the farro after about 25 minutes. The farro is done when the grains are plump but there’s a slight resistance in the center. Scoop out and reserve 1 cup of the cooking water before draining the farro.

In a large skillet or sauté pan, melt the butter over medium heat; add the onion, garlic and chile and cook until softened (but not browned).

Stir in the tomatoes and 1/2 cup of the reserved cooking water and bring to a simmer. Cook for about 10 minutes, then add the cheese and beans, stirring to incorporate.

Add the farro to the mixture, stirring gently; add more water if it seems too thick – it should be a little “saucy”. Scatter the basil over the farro and taste for seasoning. Serve with additional cheese at the table.

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