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Creamy Parmesan Farro

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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. 

pot of cooked parmesan farro with parsley in white pot

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.

easy farro recipe ingredients onion butter cheese 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:

  • Fiber
  • Magnesium
  • Iron
  • Protein
  • Zinc

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.

easy creamy farro recipe with parmesan in bowl

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.

how to cook farro with an easy recipe

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.

bowl of creamy parmesan farrotto farro recipe with tomatoes cheese and parsley

Love cooking this farro recipe? Try these favorites:

pot of cooked parmesan easy farro with parsley in white pot

Creamy Stovetop Parmesan Farro

This easy farro recipe makes a satisfying stovetop farro risotto (a farroto recipe), with nutty and cheesy flavor from parmesan and broth.
Prep Time10 minutes
Cook Time30 minutes
Course: dinner, Side Dish, Snack
Cuisine: Italian
Keywords:: comfort food, cooking farro, easy farro recipe, farro, farro bowl, farro recipe, farrotto, how to cook farro, parmesan, side dish, whole grain
Servings: 4 people
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Ingredients

  • 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

Instructions

  • 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.

Notes

Some people have mentioned that this farro dish turned out salty for them. I have reduced the salt, and suggest adding any additional salt to taste.
A lot depends on the brand of salt that you use. My preference, and that of many chefs, is Diamond Crystal kosher salt. Morton's sodium content is extremely high, and fine table salt will also result in a saltier dish due to the higher amount per volume measurement.  

35 comments

  • Would your recipe work in an Instant Pot???

  • Julie Coleman

    5 stars
    I made this for dinner, substituted veggie broth for chicken. It was absolutely delicious!! I love farro so much and so glad to have found this recipe. Will definitely be making it agsin!!

    • Unpeeled

      That’s fantastic, Julie! Thanks for the great review, and I am so glad that you liked it. It’s one of my favorite comfort food recipes.

  • Helen Morgan

    5 stars
    Just made this for dinner and it was a big hit! I’ll be making this again.

  • 5 stars
    We make this regularly and it’s become an absolute favorite. I actually throw a couple of chicken breasts and a little extra broth in and it cooks together into a chicken farro stew. Fantastic!

  • 5 stars
    Yum!!! I forgot to get Italian parsley so I subbed fresh basil. The original recipe didn’t quite make 4 servings for us (plus we like leftovers) so I will slide that servings bar over to 6 next time.

  • This looks delicious, but what can I sub for the chicken stock? My daughter is a vegetarian. Thanks!

    • 5 stars
      Very tasty recipe. Thank you for the add-on idea of mushrooms and peas. Only thing I changed was the chicken broth to a vegetarian chicken broth. Yum.

    • Unpeeled

      Hi, Katie. Good question. An unsalted vegetable stock would work well, as, frankly, would water. The addition of the other ingredients will still give it a lovely flavor.

  • Ashley

    5 stars
    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!

    • Unpeeled

      Wonderful! Thank you for the lovely comment and I am so glad you enjoyed. The asparagus is such a great addition!

      • 5 stars
        Just wondering if you can cut back on the grated cheese? Like a quarter cup total?

        • Unpeeled

          Hi, Lau! Absolutely. Feel free to adjust to your liking. The grated cheese does add a bit of salty flavor, so you may need to adjust the seasoning a bit. Other than that, the recipe will be just great.

  • 5 stars
    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.

  • 5 stars
    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!!

    • Unpeeled

      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!

  • 5 stars
    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!

4.20 from 70 votes (50 ratings without comment)

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