Farro with Wild Mushrooms – So Old it’s New

We don’t get to eat a lot of food that’s identical to what the ancient Romans would have eaten, which is one of the things that makes farro so fun. 

They must have had mushrooms and fermented cream back then, so it’s easy to imagine Cleopatra and Mark Antony enjoying this before an evening of who knows what.

You can buy dry farro in whole-grain form, but I prefer the “pearled” style, where the tougher outer layer has been polished down. Mine took about 40-45 minutes to cook, but that will depend on the brand you buy, as the sizes, and amount of polishing can vary.

I think this makes the perfect winter side dish, and while you could serve it as an entrée like a risotto, for me it’s much better as a co-star. It has a very unique, firm and chewy texture that makes it a great contrast for roasted or braised meat, but all by itself, it could get tiresome. That said, I hope you give this exciting “new” grain a try soon. Enjoy!

Ingredients for 6 portions:
1/2 oz dried porcini mushrooms (a small handful), *soaked, and chopped
2 tbsp olive oil
10 brown mushrooms, cubed
1/2 onion, small dice
2 clove minced garlic
salt to taste
1 heaping cup pearled farro
3 cups chicken stock, divided
2 tbsp crème fraiche
freshly ground black pepper to taste
2 tbsp chopped Italian parsley
grated Parmigiano Reggiano

*Note: You can strain and use the soaking liquid in the dish, but after only 20 minutes it’s fairly weak, and I wanted the extra flavor of chicken broth, so I didn’t use it. If you soak them for a longer time, and/or want to stay vegetarian, then go for it.