Whole-grain farro comfort food.
This fabulously creamy parmesan farro recipe is a one-pot wonder that combines farro with broth, Italian cheeses, onion, garlic, butter, and parsley for a simple and deeply satisfying farro bowl.
The Best, Easy Farro Recipe
I am a farro recipe true believer. Less familiar than, say, rice or pasta, farro boasts all the satisfying goodness of a starchy side, but with an added boost of texture, nutty flavor, and a whole-grain seal of approval.
There are many good ways to prepare farro. But my absolute favorite is this easy, creamy parmesan farro recipe: a stovetop farro risotto dish cooked with garlic, onion, and broth, finished with cheese and fresh parsley.
What Is Farro? Is Farro Healthy?
Farro is an ancient grain filled with health benefits. Farro describe either einkorn, emmer, or spelt ancient wheat grains. Emmer wheat farro is the most common type of farro in this part of the world.
Like other whole grains, farro boasts several important health benefits not present in processed, simple grains or starches like plain pasta or white rice. Chief among farro’s health benefits:
How to Cook Farro
Now widely available in most supermarkets, farro is easy to cook.
To cook farro in its simplest form, cook farro in a pot with lightly-salted liquid (such as water or broth) until soft but still al dente, the liquid absorbed into the grain.
But the better way to cook farro — like here — is to incorporate other ingredients into the pot and let it all cook together to creamy deliciousness.
What Is the Farro to Liquid Ratio?
Check your package directions to be certain what ratio of water or broth to farro. Generally, the ratio is 1 part farro to 3 parts liquid.
However, you can play around with it. If your farro looks a little dry toward the end, add more liquid. If you want something slightly grainier, such as for a salad, try 1 part farro to 2 1/2 parts liquid.
For this parmesan farro recipe, you want a creamy farro, instead of a drier farro.
Farro Recipe Origins: A Brooklyn Restaurant
One of my favorite restaurants in Brooklyn is Frankies Spuntino. Situated in the far reaches of Court Street in Carroll Gardens, Frankies is the type of Italian home-cooking restaurant you can wander into any time of day and get an honest bowl of unpretentious dishes. Think: escarole and beans, gnocchi marinara, meatballs.
Once upon a time, Frankies served a small, unassuming side dish: a bowl of hot farro cooked in broth with generous amount of butter, cheese, onion, and a bit of parsley. Alas, the farro went off the menu at some point, seemingly never to return.
Haunted by its absence, I set about trying to recreate it at home. Happily, Frankies’s food veers uncomplicated, so I was able to construct a version at home that is every bit as tasty and satisfying.
Easy Stovetop Parmesan Farro Recipe Notes
This farroto recipe (or farro risotto) is very straightforward. The directions are essentially to put everything in a pot and cook it, then fold in some butter, cheese, and parsley. Easy enough. But a few tasting notes will ensure that this achieves real greatness.
- The finished consistency should be creamy, and maybe even slightly broth-y. The finished farro should be soft, but still a little al dente.
- The grated cheeses contain a fair amount of salt, so do not adjust the final seasoning until the cheese has been added. This recipe calls for a combination of Parmigiano-Reggiano and pecorino-Romano. But if you choose one, go with the pecorino.
- The parsley may appear superfluous. It is not. The minced parsley brightens the deeply savory, even umami, quality and adds a welcome pop of color.
Enjoy this ultra-satisfying new side: inspired by a Brooklyn restaurant, now in your home kitchen.
Love cooking this farro recipe? Try these favorites:
Creamy Stovetop Parmesan Farro
- 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
- 1 medium yellow onion, small diced
- 1 ½ cups farro
- 2 large cloves garlic, peeled and smashed
- 2 cups unsalted chicken stock (I like Swanson's)
- 1 cup cold water
- 1 ½ teaspoons kosher salt, or to taste (I generally add up to an additional teaspoon; it will depend on taste and the brand of salt -- I use Diamond Crystal)
- 3 tablespoons unsalted butter
- fresh-ground black pepper
- ¼ cup grated Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese
- ¼ cup grated Pecorino-Romano cheese
- ½ cup loosely-packed minced parsley, leaves and stems
- Heat the olive oil in a medium-sized pot. Add the onion and cook over medium heat, stirring, until translucent, about 5 minutes.
- Add the farro and garlic. Toast the farro for 1 to 2 minutes, stirring often to coat in oil and cook evenly.
- Add the stock, kosher salt, and 1 cup cold water. Bring to a boil, then lower to a simmer and cook for about 30 minutes, stirring occasionally, until the farro is al dente and most of the liquid is absorbed.PRO TIP: My go-to brand of Kosher salt is Diamond Crystal. This is also the brand most chefs and recipe developers use.
- Remove from heat. Stir in the butter, about 12 turns of fresh-ground black pepper, and the minced parsley. Add the two cheeses, reserving a generous tablespoon of each for garnish. Taste for seasoning.
- Spoon into bowls and served, topped with the remaining cheese and a little more parsley, if desired.
Easy to make and tastes delicious. Ive made it a few times, and have added some asparagus towards the end of the cooking time which gives it a little something extra!
Wonderful! Thank you for the lovely comment and I am so glad you enjoyed. The asparagus is such a great addition!
I am so sorry for just leaving a comment now, but I have been making this regularly for over a year now and it has become a family staple. We love the creaminess and flavor of the cheese, so thank you.
This was my first time making risotto and holy wow, it’s incredible. I cannot wait to make this for friends, but for now this whole pot is for meeee.
Wondering how long it will keep for in the fridge (if I don’t inhale it all quickly), and if I should add a tsp or water or broth when reheating? I may add some English peas or mushrooms next time. But it’s fab just the way it is!!
Hi, Thelma! I apologize for just responding! Vacation got the better of me, unfortunately, and I am distressingly late on catching up. I am sorry I wasn’t able to be helpful to you sooner. In any event, though, I am SO GLAD that you enjoyed this! It is one of my favorite little recipes. It will keep in the fridge for a few days. And yes, you should add a touch of broth or water when reheating to loosen it. I find that the farro will keep trying to absorb moisture, even off the heat, so it may be a little dry when reheating otherwise. I love the idea of adding some mushrooms or peas. (You might want to check out the recipe for mushroom risotto, too! https://unpeeledjournal.com/easy-creamy-stovetop-parmesan-farro-recipe/). Thanks for writing!
I saw the above comments but had no problem with the salt. I adjusted up a little, actually. This recipe cooked up very well and tasted fantastic. Thank you!
I made this recipe with semi-pearled farro and it was delicious! I used Diamond Kosher salt, but still chose to use less than recommended.I
Farro is a favorite of mine, and I look forward to trying your other recipe(s) including this grain.
Loved the flavor and texture of this dish and have made it several times since.
Totally new to Farro. All the directions I see say to soak it overnight. Am I supposed to soak it first and then prep as mentioned here or can I skip the soaking? Really confused.and totally intimidated. I shouldn’t be… what’s the worst that can happen, right??? Thanks!,,
Hi, Shelley! Don’t worry; you can skip the soaking. Soaking will reduce the cooking time, but it is not necessary (kind-of like cooking with dried beans). Enjoy!
Great flavor and turned out very well.
Linda Tripp says
I loved this recipe, but the salt amount was WAY too much for us (and some of us like a lot of salt!) Just a heads up for others! My cop says 1 tablespoon of salt. I think I would start with half that (or less) and add as needed!
Pat Ward says
As shenot all salts are the same. She uses Diamond. If you use Morton’s you should use almost half. I can only get Morton’s where I live and have been starting with less in a recipe and then taste it to see if more is needed.
Cliff Beasley says
I agree. Way too much salt. It almost ruins the dish
Thanks for the note! I adjusted the recipe and made a note about deciding salt quantities, so hopefully this is helpful. I appreciate the feedback a lot, and am sorry this didn’t work out perfectly.
Frieda Bostian says
P.S. to my last comment: I accidentally omitted the butter, and didn’t miss it at all.
This dish is delicious! I served it for guests last night, and all of us thougoughly enjoyed it.
Excellent farro recipe with good flavor and creaminess. Thank you and I will certainly be making this again often
Will make this again and loved the flavor.. Do you think I could add vegetables and cook those in with the farro? Tomatoes? Carrots? Suggestions? Thanks.
Hi! Glad you liked it. I do think you could easily cook vegetables in with the farro. I’d recommend about a cup of halved grape tomatoes. Just check the seasoning before serving. The acid in the tomatoes might require a pinch more salt.
Jennifer Wallace says
THIS IS SO GOOD. Great comfort food and definitely helped me get out of a rice/pasta rut. Thank you!! Love your recipes.
Delish! My new favorite farro recipe. Better than risotto.