I love pasta. Whenever my bestie Kelly comes over for dinner we usually make a pasta dish. In an effort to try and eat more healthily I decided last time she came over to cook something with equal flavor to my usual pasta craving but with a healthier grain: farro.
I put together a farrotto dish, which is made just like risotto but with the ancient grain farro, which is high in fiber, protein, vitamins, minerals and antioxidants.
Much like risotto, this recipe requires a lot of stirring, but with a best friend by your side and a couple of glasses of wine, the time goes by quickly.
I splurged for high-quality ricotta to dollop on top and sprinkled it with fresh chopped basil for that extra-special touch.
Tomato Farrotto with Spinach and Ricotta
- 2.5-4 cups chicken stock
- 1.5 cups crushed tomatoes
- 2 tablespoons butter
- 1 cup minced onion
- 3 cloves garlic, minced
- 1/4 cup minced marinated tomatoes (or 2 tablespoons tomato paste)
- 1 teaspoon Trader Joes umami seasoning (optional)
- 2 teaspoons dried basil
- 1 teaspoon dried oregano
- salt and pepper to taste
- splash of white wine
- 1 1/4 cups uncooked farro
- 2 cups chopped baby spinach
- 1 generous cup of grated parmesan
- 2 tablespoons half and half or cream
- fresh ricotta, to serve
- chopped fresh basil, to serve
In a small saucepan, combine 2.5 cups stock and the crushed tomatoes. Cook till simmering and keep on low flame. Meanwhile, heat a large pan over medium high with the butter. Sauté the onions until soft, about 5 minutes. Add the garlic and the marinated tomatoes and cook until garlic is fragrant, about 1 minute. Deglaze with the splash of white wine.
Add the dried farro, umami seasoning, dried basil and oregano and cook until farro is lightly toasted, just a couple of minutes. Season with salt and pepper (I recommend skipping the salt if you used the umami seasoning).
Add a couple of ladlefuls of the hot stock/tomatoes to the pan and stir. Turn down the heat till the pan is at a low simmer. When much of the liquid has been absorbed into the farro, add another couple of ladles of the stock/tomatoes. Continue this until the farro is al dente, about 45 minutes, stirring often. You will need to heat up more stock after you’ve run out of the stock/tomato mixture. I can’t say exactly how much you’ll need. It just depends how much liquid the farro absorbs.
When farro is cooked through, add the chopped spinach and cook until spinach is wilted, a couple of minutes. Turn off heat and add the parmesan and half and half.
Serve with dollops of ricotta and chopped fresh basil.