E & I just returned to the city from a wedding in Cancun with our bellies filled with guacamole, tacos and tequila. The weather was fantastic albeit wind so strong it straightened out my 1.5 hour worth curls within minutes. This trip really brought back memories of another wedding we attended in Bali last summer, where the weather was suffocatingly hot. Despite the higher temperatures in both cities, the local cuisines often consist of hot and spicy food. Some says that hot food helps our bodies reach equilibrium with our surroundings, others say that the spices promote sweating and thus help cool the body.
Don’t get me wrong, I absolutely enjoyed all the food on the trip. I always wish I’m one of those people who LOVE salads. Like pick on salad leaves when I’m bored or have carrot sticks for a snack. Although I like the idea of having something light and fresh on hot days, my chinese roots often crave for something hot. Yes I’m that girl who orders a hot coffee and ask for non-iced water at restaurants all year round .
On another note, after coming home from Mexico, E requested for healthier grain options and I missed my relaxing Sunday meal prep sessions, and so this farro risotto was born. Like any risotto, the recipe is simple, but requires time, effort, and attention. I strongly recommend making your own sweet italian sausage because it’s easy and free of all the nasty stuff whole30 has taught me to avoid. You can even make a big batch and freeze unused portions for the future to make the effort worth it. Farro is a grain similar in shape and size to barley, and has a unique chewiness and nuttiness. I like that it doesn’t soak up dressings as readily as other grains like couscous do. It’s especially great in warm salads, like my fall staple, a warm farro salad with balsamic glazed onion, figs, arugula and prosciutto.
This is one bowl meal really packs a punch with the help of earthy funghi, fresh herbs, spicy arugula and lots and lots of nutty parmesan cheese. It’s hearty and substantial but doesn't weigh you down, and is quite perfect for kicking back on the rooftop with a light jacket on.
1-2 tablespoon olive oil
½ red onion, diced
½ pound sweet italian sausage meat
8 oz thinly sliced mushrooms
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 cup farro, rinsed
1/3cup white wine
1 bay leaf
3 cups warm chicken, beef or vegetable broth
Salt and pepper, to taste
1 cup wilting salad leaves (arugula, spinach, etc)
½ cup grated Parmesan cheese, plus more to serve
1 bunch fresh parsley, chopped
basil leaves, to garnish
- In a deep skillet, heat around a tablespoon of olive oil at medium for 2-3 minutes. Add the sausage, and cook until it begins to brown. Using a wooden spoon, gently break the meat apart to form meatball sized pieces. Add the onion and mushrooms, and cook until the onions are translucent, 4-5 minutes. Add the garlic, and cook for another minute until fragrant.
- Add the farro and stir to combine. Deglaze the pan with white wine, and continuing to stir until the liquid is almost completely reduced. Add the bay leaf, and season with salt and pepper.
- Have the stock ready in a medium bowl next to your stove top. One ladle at a time, add the stock to the pan and stir constantly until the farro has absorbed all the liquid, repeat until the farro is tender but maintains a bite, roughly 40 minutes. You may or may not need all the liquid.
- When the farro is tender, gently fold in the vegetable and Parmesan until the vegetables are slightly wilted. Top with parsley, basil leaves and more cheese. Serve.