I’ve been making this recipe for risotto with porcini mushrooms and asparagus for quite a long time. It’s one of my favorite winter meals, but I’ve always had kind of a love-hate thing with Arborio rice, which is used to make risotto. I ADORE the creamy, rich, comfort-foodness of it, but I have a hard time with all of the high glycemic starch (which I know is spiking my blood sugar and stressing out my insulin), and the feeling that I could have just had a bowl of ice cream instead. I’ve always tried to make risotto at least a little bit healthy by adding vegetables, and going light on the cheese, but let’s just call it what it is. White. Starch. The thing that I tell everyone to steer clear from.
Happily, I can just focus on the love part of my risotto relationship now, because I’ve officially switched from Arborio rice (the white stuff) to Farro. If you’re not familiar with it, please introduce your self to this ancient grain, that’s becoming all the rage at a grocery store near you. It’s a healthy, whole grain that’s high in fiber and protein, and oh so delicious.
Hello comfort food. Goodbye white starch. This is my all-time favorite recipe for risotto. Trader Joe’s usually has dried porcini mushrooms for a reasonable price. Make sure you buy whole farro, not pearled (it’s not whole grain).
- 1½ cups farro
- 5 cups low sodium vegetable broth (divided)
- 2 medium shallots, diced
- 2 Tbs olive oil
- ¼ cup dry white wine
- .5 oz. dried porcini mushrooms, soaked in 1 cup hot water
- 1 cup cremini (baby bella) mushrooms, chopped
- 1 lb thin asparagus, tough ends snapped off, and cut into 1-inch pieces
- ¼-1/2 cup grated parmesan cheese
- Cook the farro in 3 cups of the broth, for about 10-15 minutes, or until most of the liquid is absorbed, and farro is mostly tender.
- While farro is cooking, soak the dried porcini mushrooms in 1 cup hot water for about 15 minutes. Remove the mushrooms to a strainer (reserving the liquid), and rinse well, to remove any grit. Strain the mushroom liquid through a coffee filter to make sure it's clear of any grit. Chop both the porcini, and the cremini mushrooms.
- Heat the olive oil in a large sauté pan over medium high heat, and add shallots. Cook 3-5 minutes, or until translucent. Add the mushrooms, and then the wine, and sauté for another 3 minutes or so.
- Add the cooked farro to the shallots and mushrooms, and immediately add the reserved mushroom liquid. Stir gently, and reduce the heat to low.
- As the liquid is absorbed, add additional broth, about ½ cup (or a ladle full) at a time, and stir occasionally as it simmers. Add additional broth as needed, up to 2 cups, until farro is completely tender and creamy.
- When farro is just about finished, add asparagus and simmer for a final 3-5 minutes, or until asparagus is tender.
- Stir in ¼ cup grated cheese.
- Serve, passing additional cheese if desired.
Have you tried any new ancient grains?