After years of feeding our vegetarian kids and grandkids every possible permutation of pasta-sauce-cheese, I've been mining the pantry for new ideas. A recently discovered package of farro, purchased ages ago at one of Providence's Italian markets, inspired a main course dish that pairs this nutty, chewy grain with earthy mushrooms, crisp broccoli, crunchy almonds and salty feta. It's an explosion of taste and texture that satisfies, as an entrée for vegetarians, or a side dish with roast turkey. You can buy instant farro at Trader Joe's; it cooks in ten minutes, but the texture isn't as chewy as the regular farro that takes only a few minutes longer. In the time it takes to cook the farro, prepare all the rest of the ingredients, so the whole dish comes together in less than half an hour.
Farro with mushrooms, broccoli, almonds and feta
1 cup farro
2 cups vegetable broth, chicken broth, or water
1 Tbsp olive oil
1 small onion, diced
12 oz sliced mushrooms (white, cremini, or a mix)
4 cups chopped broccoli florets
1-1/2 tsp dried thyme
1/2 cup crumbled feta cheese
1/2 cup sliced almonds, toasted
1/2 tsp fresh black pepper, or more to taste
Cook the farro in the broth according to package directions. Transfer it to a large mixing bowl, and set aside.
In a large nonstick frying pan, heat the olive oil over medium heat. Add the onion, and cook for 2 minutes until slightly translucent. Add all of the mushrooms, and cook, stirring occasionally, until the mushrooms have given off some of their liquid, but there is still some liquid left in the pan.
Toss the broccoli and thyme into the pan, and cook, stirring occasionally, for 2-3 minutes, until the broccoli is just cooked but still tender-crisp. Pour the vegetables into the bowl with the farro.
In the same pan (you don't need to add oil or liquid), toast the almonds for 3-4 minutes, stirring or tossing often, until they are aromatic and slightly browned. Add them to the farro.
Stir everything in the bowl, then add the feta and 1/2 teaspoon of black pepper. Toss again, taste, and add more pepper if needed.
Serve warm, at room temperature, or cold.
More recipes in The Perfect Pantry:
Farro and kale salad with white beans and slow-roasted (or sun-dried) tomato
Barley and lentil pilaf with mushrooms and spinach
Curried mushroom, green bean and barley soup
Warm salad of kamut, cranberries and feta
Other recipes that use these pantry ingredients:
Farro risotto with chicken, broccoli and mushrooms, from Poor Girl Eats Well
Summer tabouli with farro, from Aggie's Kitchen
Vegan farro and roasted sweet potato salad with pine nuts and tahini-sumac vinaigrette, from Kalyn's Kitchen
Buttermilk farro salad, from 101 Cookbooks
Warm farro cereal with coconut, almonds, and dried cherries, from A Sweet Spoonful
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