If you haven’t met farro yet, let me introduce you.
Farro is an ancient grain with long-ago origins in western Asia. It has an earthy, nutty flavor and a chewy texture that works well in everything from winter soups to hearty salads.
Italian cooks have enjoyed this grain for years, and it's beginning to catch on here, too. Give it a try in this hearty, but easy, meal of cooked farro, sautéed mushrooms, and greens!
As farro's popularity has grown, it's become easier to find it in stores. Look for pearled farro (perlato), which is quick-cooking.
Be sure to read the package carefully when buying. Other grades of the grain are only semi-pearled or whole, and these retain the tough husks and take longer to cook, sometimes requiring an overnight soak in water. (Also, don't confuse farro with spelt, which looks very similar.)
If you can’t find the quick-cooking variety, just be sure to follow the package directions and adjust the cooking times accordingly.
Also, FYI, farro is a kind of wheat, and therefore not suitable for anyone with wheat sensitivities.
On to this recipe! A warming bowl of farro with mushrooms is one of my favorite dishes when the snow piles up outside. I make it a little soupy, like a cross between a stew and a risotto.
I love it for lunch on its own, or as a simple supper topped with a poached or fried egg. You could also serve it alongside roast chicken.
Farro, Mushroom, and Spinach Soup
- 3 tablespoons olive oil
- 2 pounds mixed mushrooms, sliced (such as white mushrooms, crimini, Portobello or shiitake)
- 1 teaspoon dried thyme
- 2 tablespoons low-sodium soy sauce
- 2 bunches scallions, thinly sliced
- 1 1/4 cups pearled (quick-cooking) farro (about 6 ounces)
- 1/2 cup white wine
- Salt and pepper, to taste
- 3 cups chicken stock or vegetable stock
- 4 large handfuls baby spinach leaves
- 1/2 cup freshly grated Parmesan
- 1/2 cup chopped fresh parsley
- Extra Parmesan (for garnish)
Cook the mushrooms and scallions:
In a stockpot or large saucepot over medium-high heat, heat the oil. Add the mushrooms and cook, stirring often, for 10 minutes, or until the mushrooms release their juices and turn golden brown.
Stir in the thyme, soy sauce, and scallions, and cook for 2 minutes longer.
Add the farro, wine, salt, and pepper and simmer for 5 minutes, or until the wine has reduced
Stir in the stock and bring to a simmer:
Reduce the heat to low, cover the pot and cook for 10 minutes, or until the farro is tender (taste one of the grains to check). Uncover, turn the heat up to high, and cook for 2 to 3 minutes to reduce the liquid to the consistency of a thick stew. (If the farro looks dry, add a little more stock at this point.)
Stir in the spinach and parsley:
Cook for 30 seconds, or until the spinach wilts. Stir in the 1/2 cup Parmesan.
Taste, and season with more salt and pepper, if you like. Ladle into bowls and sprinkle a little Parmesan on top.