Farro is a fairly new ingredient for me, but ever since I discovered it its become a new fave. It's a grain made from wheat and has a great chewy texture similar to barley, but a bit nuttier. So not only does it taste good, but it's healthy for you too. Ummm...except I don't know how healthy it is smothered in cheese and bathed in a creamy sauce. Could it be a healthy balance?
If you're trying to imagine how this dish tastes - think mac 'n cheese but with a chewy bite. The sauce had a fabulous flavor since the recipe called for three different cheeses - which made it even more heavenly. Even though it was delicious in all its cheesy gooey goodness, we could only eat a small amount since it was so rich and dense because of the farro. But I guess this turned out to be a blessing in disguise since I don't want to imagine how much damage we would've done had it been made with pasta. So if you try this dish I would suggest substituting pasta for the farro. However you may have to change the measurements depending on how many cups the farro cooks up to be. Say cheeeese :)
Cheesy Baked Farro
Recipe from Giada at Home
* Vegetable cooking spray
* 1/2 stick (1/4 cup) unsalted butter
* 1/4 cup all-purpose flour
* 2 cups 2% milk
* Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
* 2 1/2 cups grated Parmesan (I used sharp white cheddar)
* 1 cup grated Gruyere
* 1/2 cup fontina cheese, grated (Val d' Aosta)
* 6 cups chicken broth
* 2 cups faro or barley, rinsed and drained
* 1 teaspoon chopped fresh thyme leaves
* Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper*
* 1/2 cup plain dried bread crumbs
* Olive oil, for drizzling
Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F. Spray a 13 by 9-inch baking dish with cooking spray.
For the sauce: In a 2-quart saucepan, melt the butter over medium heat. Add the flour and whisk until smooth. Gradually add the warm milk, whisking constantly to prevent lumps. Simmer over medium heat, whisking constantly, until the sauce is thick and smooth, about 8 minutes (do not allow the mixture to boil).
For the farro: In a large bowl, add the cheeses and stir to combine. Remove 1/2 cup of the mixture and reserve. In a large stock pot, add the chicken broth and bring to a boil over medium-high heat. Add the farro, reduce heat and simmer, stirring occasionally, until the faro is tender, about 25 minutes. Drain, if necessary. Add the farro, thyme, and sauce to the bowl with the cheese. Stir until combined and season with salt and pepper, to taste. Pour the mixture into the prepared baking dish and top with the reserved 1/2 cup of cheese. Sprinkle the top with bread crumbs and drizzle with olive oil.
Bake until the top is golden brown and forms a crust, about 25 to 30 minutes. Remove from oven and let stand for 5 minutes before serving.
*I would season the dish after you mix the bechamel with the cheese mixture since it's already pretty salty because of the cheese.
Labels: Sides - Friday, November 12, 2010