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 1/2 cups farro
- 2 large cloves garlic, peeled and smashed
- 2 cups unsalted chicken stock (I like Swanson's)
- 1 cup cold water
- 1 1/2 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
- 1/4 cup grated Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese
- 1/4 cup grated Pecorino-Romano cheese
- 1/2 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.