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Spring Farro Risotto

The recipe has extra appeal because unlike classic risotto that requires constant stirring, this version requires no fuss once it goes into the oven. It relies on onions, bacon and lemon to get the flavors going as it cooks. If you are vegetarian, or vegan, or kosher, or halal, or if there’s any other reason you don’t each pork, just leave out the bacon. I’m personally fond of a hit of bacon in my cooking, along with its Italian cousin, pancetta. Although both are notoriously fatty, they pack in loads of flavor so you can get away with just using a small amount to season an entire recipe.
Course Main Course
Cuisine Italian
Prep Time 20 minutes
Cook Time 40 minutes
Total Time 1 hour
Servings 4 to 5 servings
Author Katie Morford

Ingredients

  • 1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1 large yellow onion, chopped
  • 2 strips bacon, chopped (leave out for a vegetarian version)
  • 3 tablespoons lemon juice (1 juicy lemon)
  • 1 cup semipearled farro (see notes)
  • 3 cups low-sodium chicken broth or vegetable broth
  • 1 cup English peas, fresh or frozen
  • 1 bunch asparagus (3/4 of a pound), stems snapped off, cut into 1-inch long pieces
  • 2 tablespoons finely chopped mint
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt, plus more to taste
  • 1/4 cup grated Parmesan cheese
  • Freshly ground black pepper

Instructions

  1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees.
  2. Heat the oil in a large pot with an oven-proof lid over medium-high heat. Add the onion and sauté for 2 minutes. Turn the heat to medium and add the bacon. Continue to sauté until the onion is translucent and the bacon is cooked (though it won’t be crispy).
  3. Add the farro and the lemon juice and turn the heat to high. Cook until the farro absorbs the juice. Add the chicken broth and bring to a boil. As soon as it boils, set the lid on the pot and put it into the oven.
  4. Bake for 30 to 35 minutes until the farro is just tender, with no crunch to it (al dente). Remove from the oven and add the peas and asparagus. If the farro looks dry, add 1/4 cup of water or broth. Give it all a good stir and put it back into the oven for another 7 to 8 minutes until the vegetables are just tender (keeping in mind they will continue to cook a little once out of the oven).
  5. Remove from the oven, add mint, salt, and Parmesan. Taste and add freshly ground black pepper along with more salt if needed. Serve immediately.

Recipe Notes

If using pearled farro (as opposed to semipearled), scale back the broth to 2 1/2 cups and add more as needed. Also, keep any eye on the clock, since pearled farro cooks more quickly than semipearled. If English peas are not in season, use frozen, defrosted peas.