Archive for the ‘Risotto and Farrotto’ Category

Baked Farrotto

Yesterday afternoon, I got a phone call from my sister regarding our dinner plans. I was really excited because there was a recipe I have been wanting to try out I came across it here, a blog I enjoy reading.

I never seem to be able to follow recipes precisely, and this was no exception. I added a couple of carrots to the onion for some added flavor and color.

I didn’t have any broth on hand so I tossed the carrot peels and tops in a pot of water with parsley stems and onion skin. It wasn’t perfect but it did the trick.

After I added the farro, I also added some rings of sweet peppers…

then, tomato sauce (that my sister made last summer,) the broth, chopped parsley instead of oregano, and some parmesan cheese.

I put the lid, slightly askew, on the pot and slid it in the over. I was impressed at how well it turned out, and how easy it was!

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Forgive me for being so behind on my posts lately. I have been quite busy. Recently, we had another great cooking class at The Store! Kathy Dubois and Steve Boss (hosts of Great Taste on KRUUFM) taught us how to make risotto and farrotto! Farro is prepared very much in the same way as risotto with the exception of using farro in place of rice. Farro is an ancient Italian grain, great for soups, stews, and salads. It is a bit chewy in texture and has a very nice nutty/earthy flavor. We also made a couple of starters and an apple cake!

We started with some slow roasted beets drizzled with Traditional Balsamic Vinegar, olive oil, salt and pepper. Next we had a fresh brussel sprout salad. It was very simple, shredded brussel sprouts, pecorino toscano cheese, lemon juice, olive oil, and salt and pepper.

Kathy and Steve roasted some garden tomatoes ahead of time and made a nice big pot of veggie broth for the risotto and farrotto. Both dishes were prepared in a similar fashion. We began by sauteing some leeks, carrots, and celery. Then adding the rice/farro followed by a splash of wine. Once the wine has evaporated off, you can begin adding broth one ladle at a time stirring often. As the liquid cooks off, add some more. I always find that the longer the risotto has been cooking the more I need to stir it. Once the rice/farro was sufficiently cooked, still a little toothy, we turned off the heat and added some butter and parmigiano reggiano. We finished the risotto with a roasted red pepper sauce that Kathy made, and the farrotto with the roasted garden tomatoes.

For dessert, Kathy had prepared a delicious apple cake with a crumb topping and, of course, whipped cream!

Click here for the risotto and farrotto recipe.

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About 4 years ago my sister and I went to Modena, Italy to learn about Traditional Balsamic Vinegar. We were lucky enough to stay with Erika Barbieri of Acetaia del Cristo. Erika’s family has been making Aceto Balsamico Tradizionale di Modena (ABTM) for generations. She and her business partner, Daniele, along with her brother Gilberto are carrying on their family tradition of making ABTM.

For those of you who don’t know the difference between ABTM and the “balsamic” vinegar you find at the grocery store, there are several. ABTM is made from cooked grape juice (the cooking stops it from turning into wine) that is aged in wooden barrels for a number of years.

As the vinegar ages there is a lot of evaporation that takes place so the vinegar becomes both thicker and sweeter (because the sugars are more concentrated). At the same time, the level of acidity is increasing making the vinegar more tart. After aging for at least 12 or 25 years, the vinegar is ready to be bottled. By this point, the vinegar is so thick and sweet it seems more like a syrup than what we think of as vinegar. Grocery store “balsamic” is almost always made from wine vinegar and many times has sweeteners and colorants added to it in an attempt to mimic the richness of ABTM.

One of my favorite ways to eat Traditional Balsamic is on vanilla ice cream and strawberries!

My sister and I were in Modena during the fall so we got to help with the grape harvest. None of our friends there could believe that we were excited to pick grapes. I suppose it is akin to detasseling corn in the Midwest. Never the less, we had fun!

At the end of the harvest, Erika’s father made a big batch of Porcini risotto with porcini that he collected up in the mountains.

Erika’s friends and neighbors help with the harvest just so they can partake in the end of harvest party and eat Eugenio’s risotto, it is that good.

After the harvest was complete and things settled down a bit, my sister and I accompanied Erika to Torino, Italy for the Salone del Gusto which is a fair highlighting producers of traditional foods from all over the world.

I highly encourage everyone to taste this vinegar if you have the opportunity!

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