I'll start this by acknowledging that I'm the world's worst sous chef. Seriously. After making this pilaf yesterday night, I'm a heck of a lot more thankful I'm married to a man who is great at "finely dicing" all sorts of veggies. Because as good as it looks, there are a TON of large onion pieces in my pilaf right now.
Second, I'll tell you what Farro is. It's a whole grain that looks a bit like brown rice when it's cooked. It's a little nutty, and has a nice bite to it when it's cooked properly. Normally, you have to soak it to soften it, and then cook it. In this recipe, it's cooked in broth to impart a little flavor while it cooks, and the soaking step is removed.
This is a really festive-looking dish, and it's nutritious too. It would be a welcome addition on any holiday table at our house--I hope it can share your table too!
Adapted from the Nov/Dec 2010 issue of Clean Eating, here's how I made it.
- 4c. low-sodium chicken or vegetable broth
- 2c. water
- 2c. whole-grain farro
- 2/3c. unsalted pine nuts
- 2 cloves garlic, minced (next time, I'll use 4)
- 1 onion, diced (next time, I'll use 1/2)
- 2 large carrots, peeled & diced
- 2 stalks celery, diced
- 1T thyme (dried or fresh--a little less dried works well)
- 1/2c. dried cranberries, chopped
- 1/2c. dried apricots, chopped
- 1t. Kosher salt
- 1/2t. fresh ground black pepper
First, bring broth and water to a boil. Add the farro, reduce to a simmer, and simmer for 18-20 minutes. The farro should still have a little bit of a bite to it. Drain the farro in a colander over a bowl to catch the cooking liquid. Reserve 1c. liquid, plus the farro.
While the farro is cooking, toast the pine nuts. You can do this in your toaster oven (not your toaster!), or in a skillet by heating them until they are golden brown. If you cook them in a skillet, stir constantly because they'll burn quickly. This only takes 2 minutes or so. Let the nuts cool on a plate.
Next, heat the olive oil in a large skillet. Saute the garlic, onion, carrots and celery until the onion is soft and translucent, but not brown--about 5 minutes. Add the fruit, thyme, salt and pepper, and cook 3 minutes more. Add the farro, and stir to combine. Stir in the reserved cooking liquid and simmer for a few minutes (3-5) until the liquid is absorbed.
To finish, remove from heat and stir in the pine nuts. Serve warm or cold.
Serves 12 (1/2c. servings)