Fall is upon us in all of its glory. All the signs are there. There are leaves in my yard that I will no doubt ignore for months. The mosquitoes have stopped their relentless assault. And, I’ve had a fire in the good ol’ stove. And with the change in weather, comes a change in appetite.
Working in the café, it is somewhat magical to watch the seasonal shifts in eating habits. The quantify of soup we sell sky rockets. And, it’s not just soup that we humans begin to crave when it gets cooler. All of a sudden, the hearty dishes like braised meat stews and lasagna start to sound delicious, whereas in the heat of the summer even the thought of those heavier dishes gives me the sweats. Sometimes these winter dishes can be less than forgiving on the waistline. But after all, I need that extra layer of fat to keep me warm…right?
Luckily, not all hearty, winter goodness is fattening. In fact, some of it can even be (gasp) healthy. Specifically, I’m referring to the ancient grain farro. When I say ancient, I mean super-duper, really, seriously old. Farro, originating in the Middle East has been found as far back as 17,000 BCE, and domesticated farro dates back 7700 BCE. Farro fell out of favor because it is more time consuming to produce and has less yield than other grains. What it lacks in efficiency, however, it makes up for in flavor
If you’re not familiar with farro, it is truly yummy. Hands down, it’s my favorite grain to eat and cook. It’s also incredibly healthy, but for me that is just the icing on the cake. Farro looks a lot like barley, but when cooked it keeps a chewier texture and has a nuttier flavor.
Farro is also very easy to cook. Bring water or stock to a boil, throw it in, and cook for 20-30 minutes, or until al dente. What could be easier? You can also replace arborio rice with farro in a risotto (farrotto) with delicious results. The New York Times wrote a great article on farro, which includes some wonderful recipes.
Farro is now available on the shelves at Feast. We will also be featuring it in soups and specials in the coming weeks. Give it a try. I guarantee you won’t be disappointed.