Many of these inspirations come from Martha Stewart's Cooking School. This is one of my favorite cookbooks because each dish is representative of a culinary technique, which Martha thoroughly explains to the 'at home chef'.
Today, the Mr. and I were in the mood for "healthy" comfort food, which, made it a great time to try risotto made with farro. Farro is an ancient Italian grain packed with many more nutrients than traditional rice and pasta. It's slightly chewey and has a very rich, nutty flavor.
To start the recipe, I made a quick vegetable stock. If I've learned one thing from this book, it's to always make your own, and never use canned. For the stock, prepare:
1 celery stalk, cut in half lengthwise
1 medium carrot, cut in half crosswise
1/2 small onion, peeled
2 sprigs flat-leaf parsley
7 cups water
Combine stock ingredients in a 4-quart stockpot and bring to a boil over medium-high heat. Reduce heat and simmer for 15 minutes. Reduce heat to the lowest setting to keep stock hot, but not evaporating.
In another 4-quart pot, heat 3 tablespoons olive oil over medium high heat. Add 1/3 cup diced onion, and cook until transluscent, 1-2 minutes. Reduce heat if onion begins to brown. Add 1 cup farro to the onion mixture and cook for another two minutes.
Add 1/3 cup dry white wine to the pan, stirring just until absorbed. The farro should be glistening, but not dry. Using a ladle, add 1/2 cup hot stock to the rice. Stir constantly with a wooden spoon, at a moderate speed, until about three-quarters of the liquid is absorbed. Continue adding stock, 1/2 cup at a time, stirring frequently. This process should take 25 minutes, exactly.
When the farro has finished cooking. Add 2 tablespoons unsalted butter to the pan. Allow to melt. Then, stire in 1/2 cup grated parmigiano-reggiano cheese, 1/2 cup chopped flat-leaf parsley and salt and pepper, to taste.