I used to think of grains as a bit bland and boring. There. I said it. Sad but true. For years I avoided the bins of farro (barley), oats, wheat berries and quinoa assuming they were meant for vegetarians who didn’t like salt and spice in their food. Oops. There were years where I completely missed out on enjoying these tooth popping textures and vehicles for spice and salt, partners for veggies, cheese and sauce. But then I started reading about grains on 101 Cookbooks. And Heidi’s recipes looked like things I would enjoy. So I made a mental note to pick up some farro.
First, I made her Baked Farro Risotto – I omitted the onions because we were out of them, added chopped broccoli and used a combination of parmesan cheese and gruyere cheese. I also spinkled a bit of bread crumbs on top and broiled the dish for a few minutes to get a nice parmesan-y bread crumb-y crust. It was an instant hit – even among certain diners in my house who also harbored preconceived notions about farro and “healthy grains”.
Then I decided to substitute some farro for semolina to make South Indian Upma. It’s easier than traditional upma, has a chewy, tooth-y texture and melds well with Indian spices. The farro was even just a little creamy without adding any cream.