Archive for Winter Rice, Grain and Beans

Farro Risotto With Tomatoes

Since our first trip to Italy I have been a big fan of farro. Farro is made from Emmer Wheat, not spelt. The first time I had it was in a ribollita at La Bottega, a little restaurant in Volpaia, a small town in Chianti. I had read that the mother of the family who own the restaurant, make the best ribollita (a thick soup), so of course we had to go there! It was great! A short time later, at Ristorante da Dalfina, a short drive from Florence, we ordered a tomato risotto made with farro. It was delicious. I simply had to buy farro to bring home! I found it!  Another discovery made from having leftover risotto is to make a soup with some borlotti beans, carrots, onions & celery and some herbs.  Tummy warming on a cool day.

Makes 3 – 4 First Course/Side Dish Servings

1 cup farro perlato (semi-pearled)**
1 Tbsp. each EVO & unsalted butter
1 ½ cups chicken stock** or tinned low/no salt chicken broth, or more, especially if using regular farro**
½ tsp. salt
2 cups tinned Italian plum tomatoes, drained & pureed in a food mill (or you can simply mash up with your hands). Don’t use a food processor,  pureed seeds makes the tomatoes bitter.
1 medium onion, chopped fine
1 clove garlic, minced
2 oz. pancetta, cut into fine dice
¼ cup dry white wine
2 – 3 Tbsp. chopped fresh basil
Freshly ground black pepper to taste

For Finishing the Risotto:

2 – 3 Tbsp. freshly grated Parmigiano-Reggiano
1 Tbsp. unsalted butter

Heat the stock in a pot until hot. Cover with a lid & keep warm on low heat. Heat the EVO & butter in a medium sized pot & add the pancetta; sauté until golden; add the onion & sauté until translucent, then add the garlic & sauté for a minute or so. Add the farro & stir until coated & lightly toasted; approximately 2 minutes. Add the wine & cook until it evaporates. Ladle in ½ cup stock at a time, stirring & adding more stock as it is absorbed into the farro. Repeat until all stock is used up. Add the pureed tomatoes & continue to cook until the farro is al dente 12 – 15 minutes, adding more stock if necessary until it is ready; add the basil & season to taste with more salt if required & freshly ground black pepper. Add the cheese & butter, stirring until incorporated. Serve immediately.

**A note about Farro Perlato. I have, so far, been unable to find pearled farro in Vancouver, so I buy it in Italy & in London at an Italian Deli. You can easily find the regular farro, but for making risotto using regular farro there are two schools of thought on the preparation method.  One is to pre-soak & one is not.  Both methods follow & you can decide which one would work for you.

Soak the farro in cold water to cover for 8 – 12 hours, drain & continue with the recipe.

OR: another method if you  is to sauté the onion & garlic as above, add the unsoaked farro, stirring for a minute to coat with oil & butter, add the wine, cook until reduced, stirring constantly, then add 1 ½ cup hot broth & ½ tsp salt, stir to combine; bring to a boil, reduce heat to medium-low, cover & simmer about 10 minutes, until most of the liquid has been absorbed into the farro. Add the pureed tomatoes & ¼ cup hot broth, boil over medium heat, uncovered, until tender adding more broth ¼ cup at a time, stirring occasionally, until farro is al dente, approximately 25 minutes, the farro should not be dry. Season farro to taste with salt & pepper to taste, stir in the cheese & butter until creamy.

 To make your own stock, click Making Stock.

Phyllis Signature_01

Barley Pilaf

An old favourite of mine; excellent served with roast pork loin, especially a juicy, bone-in roast . I also use it as an accompaniment to my hazelnut chicken breasts and anything else that takes my fancy! Like I said before, I love barley. If I have leftovers, they will become part of a soup.  You can easily make half the recipe if you like.

Makes 10 Servings

6 Tbsp. butter
1 ½ cups chopped leek
1 cup thinly sliced celery
2 cups pearl barley
2 bay leaves
1 tsp. dried thyme, crumbled
½ to 1 tsp. salt or to you taste
Freshly ground black pepper
3 ½ cups chicken stock or tinned low salt chicken broth**
½ cup dry white wine
½ cup minced fresh parsley
¼ cup snipped fresh chives (or green onions, green part only)

Preheat oven to 350 F.

Melt butter in a heavy ovenproof casserole over medium-low heat. Add leeks & celery & cook until soft, stirring occasionally, about 6 minutes. Add barley & stir 3 minutes. Add bay leaves, thyme, salt & a generous amount of pepper. Mix in stock & wine. Bring to a boil; cover tightly & bake until liquid is absorbed, 35 – 40 minutes. Stir in parsley & chives. Serve immediately.

If you would like to make homemade stock, click Making Stock.

Phyllis Signature_01

Baked Polenta With Onions And Bacon

For a printer friendly version of this recipe, click here.

Joe likes it!  That’s what the note at the top of the recipe says!

The polenta is prepared in the microwave then finished in the oven. I think it would be excellent with chicken, perhaps Joe’s Tuscan Chicken or chicken with barbecue sauce & a nice salad.

Makes 2 Servings

3 slices of lean bacon, chopped crosswise into ½” pieces
2 medium onions, sliced thin
1 cup water
¾ cup chicken broth
¼ tsp. crumbled dried sage or ¾ tsp. chopped fresh sage
½ cup polenta
1 Tbsp. unsalted butter
¼ cup freshly grated Parmigiano-Reggiano, or other hard grating cheese

Preheat the oven to 400 F.

In a 2 – 3 quart microwaveable casserole with a lid, microwave the bacon, uncovered, on high, stirring after each minute, for 2 to 2 ½ minutes, or until it is almost crisp. Pour off all but 1 Tbsp. of the fat from the casserole & stir in the onions. Microwave the mixture, uncovered, on high, stirring every 2 minutes, for 8 minutes, or until the onions are softened but not browned; transfer the onion mixture to a bowl.

To the casserole add the water, broth & sage; whisk in the cornmeal, a little at a time, whisking until the mixture is smooth. Microwave the mixture, covered, on high, whisking after 3 minutes, for a total of 5 minutes, or until it is thickened & the liquid is absorbed. Stir in the butter, 2 Tbsp. of the cheese, half the onion mixture, salt & pepper to taste; divide the mixture between two gratin dishes or spread into a 3 cup gratin dish that has been buttered or sprayed with non-stick cooking spray.

Top the polenta with the remaining onion mixture, spreading the mixture evenly, sprinkle it with the remaining 2 Tbsp. cheese & bake in the middle of the oven for 15 minutes, or until the cheese is melted.

**If you would like to make your own stock, please go to Making Stock.

Barley Risotto With Vegetables

Known as orzotto in Italy, this is a delicious change from regular risotto. The orzotto would be great made in the early fall as well, when we can still get local zucchini. I have substituted leeks & peas for the zucchini & carrots too, adding a few tablespoons of snipped chives & perhaps a bit of fresh mint in the spring. The barley needs to be soaked for 8 – 12 hours, so do that on the morning you plan to make your orzotto.

6 First Course & 4 Main Course Servings

1 cup pearl barley
Approximately 7 ½ cups homemade vegetable or chicken stock** or purchased broth + extra 2 cups, in case orzotto needs to cook a bit ½ cup dry white wine
1 medium onion, finely chopped
2 medium zucchini, ¼” dice
1 medium carrot, ¼” dice
¼ cup (4 Tbsp.) unsalted butter
½ cup freshly grated Parmigiano-Reggiano
2 tsp. minced fresh parsley leaves
Freshly ground black pepper to taste

In a bowl cover the barley with water by 2”. Soak for 8 – 12 hours. Drain in a colander, set aside.

In a large saucepan, bring broth to a simmer & keep it at a simmer, lid on. Finely chop onion; dice zucchini & carrots.

In a 5 quart heavy kettle, cook onion in 2 Tbsp. butter over moderately low heat, stirring, until softened. Add the barley & the wine, stirring to combine. Add 2 cups of the simmering broth & cook at a slow boil over moderate heat, stirring frequently, until thickened & some broth is absorbed. Continue to add the simmering broth, 1 cup at a time & cook, stirring frequently, letting each addition be partially absorbed before adding the next, until about half the broth has been used, over a period of about 20 minutes. Stir in the zucchini & carrots, continue to cook, adding broth ½ cup at a time, in the same manner until barley is tender, about 20 minutes. Mixture will be a bit soupy but the barley should be mostly tender but not mushy, (just slightly al dente). If not, continue cooking, stirring longer until it is, adding more broth if necessary. This may take up 10 – 20 minutes longer. When done, stir in the Parmigiano-Reggiano, remaining 2 Tbsp. butter, parsley & black pepper until incorporated; remove pot from the heat. Let orzotto stand 5 minutes before serving.

**If you would like to make your own stock, please go to Making Stock.

Barley Risotto

There’s something so yummy & comforting about barley no matter how it’s cooked! A couple of months ago at a restaurant in London, I had a “rice” pudding made with barley instead of rice. It was wonderful! I could eat it every day for breakfast but it would be a guilty pleasure if I did. The first chives are up before winter is over; nice to use them here. Unfortunately fresh basil will still have to be bought for now!

duo with butter onion barleyMakes 6 First Course Servings

6 ½ cups low-salt chicken broth or homemade stock**
6 Tbsp. unsalted “European” style butter (cultured unsalted butter)
1 medium onion, finely chopped
2 medium garlic cloves, minced
2 cups pearl barley, rinsed & drained
6 oz. brown mushrooms, cleaned, trimmed & sliced
½ cup freshly grated Parmigiano-Reggiano
1 Tbsp. chopped fresh chives
1 Tbsp. chopped fresh Italian (flat-leaf) parsley
1 Tbsp. chopped fresh basil
Salt
Freshly ground black pepper

Bring broth to a simmer in a medium saucepan. Reduce heat to low; cover & keep warm. Melt 2 Tbsp. butter in a heavy large saucepan over medium heat. Add the onion ; sauté until tender, about 6 minutes; add the garlic & sauté for a minute further. Add the barley; stir until coated with butter, about 1 minute. Add ½ cup broth; simmer, stirring often, until broth is absorbed, about 3 minutes. Add remaining broth ½ cup at a time, allowing broth to be absorbed before adding more & stirring frequently until barley is tender but still firm to the bite & risotto is creamy, about 45 minutes.

Place serving bowls in a preheated 180 F oven to warm.

Meanwhile, melt 2 Tbsp. butter in a medium skillet over medium-high heat. Add the mushrooms & sauté until soft, about 5 minutes; season to taste with salt & pepper. Add the mushrooms, Parmigiano, herbs & remaining 2 Tbsp. butter to risotto; stir to combine; season to taste with salt & pepper. Place into warmed, individual serving bowls & serve.

**If you would like to make your own stock, please go to Making Stock.

Phyllis Signature

Farro Risotto With Red Wine

This is an excellent “risotto” made using farro. It is terrific in the winter or fall as a first course, perhaps followed by a roasted bird or meat of your choice.

Makes 3 – 4 First Course Servings

2 Tbsp. EVO
2 small shallots, chopped fine
200 grams farro perlato (semi-pearled)**
1 ½ cups Chianti Classico wine, or other good, fruity Italian Red (unless you are lucky enough to have a stash in your cellar!)
1 cup vegetable or chicken stock,** or tinned low/no salt chicken broth
1 Tbsp. unsalted butter, divided
Freshly grated Grana Padano cheese or Parmigiano
Salt & freshly ground black pepper to taste

Heat the stock in a pot until hot. Cover with a lid & keep warm on low heat. Heat the EVO & butter in a medium sized pot & add the shallots. Sauté until translucent, add the farro & stir until coated & lightly toasted; approximately 2 minutes. Add 1 cup of wine & let reduce, stirring constantly, cook until it reduces & there is very little liquid left. Ladle in ½ cup stock at a time, stirring & adding more stock as it is absorbed into the farro. Repeat until all stock is used up. Add the remaining ½ cup wine & continue to cook until the farro is al dente 12 – 15 minutes, adding more stock until it is; season to taste with more salt if required & freshly ground black pepper. Add the cheese & butter, stirring until incorporated. Serve immediately.

**A note about Farro Perlato. I have, so far, been unable to find pearled farro in Vancouver, so I buy it in Italy & in London at an Italian Deli. You can easily find the regular farro, but for making risotto with regular farro there are two schools of thought on the preparation method.  One is to pre-soak & one is not.  Both methods are below & you can decide which one works for you.

Soak the farro in cold water to cover for 8 – 12 hours, drain & continue with the recipe.

OR: sauté the onion & garlic as above, add the unsoaked farro, stirring for a minute to coat with oil & butter, add 1 cup of wine & reduce, stirring constantly, add 1 ½ cup hot broth & ½ tsp salt, stir to combine; bring to a boil, reduce heat to medium-low, cover & simmer about 10 minutes, until most of the liquid has been absorbed into the farro. Add remaining ½ cup of the wine, boil over medium heat, uncovered, until tender adding more broth ¼ cup at a time, stirring occasionally, until farro is al dente, approximately 25 minutes, the farro should not be dry. Season farro to taste with salt & pepper to taste, stir in the cheese & butter until creamy.

**If you would like to make your own stock, please go to Making Stock.

Milanese Rice

I like to make this rice, a baked “risotto” to accompany Osso Bucco. It’s not the usual cooked on top of the stove, stirring almost constantly, so it does make things a little easier for the cook. However, feel free to change it up & do it the traditional way! I love the saffron in the rice. When buying saffron, make sure you buy the “threads” and not powdered. Spain’s saffron is excellent & if you can get it so is the saffron from San Gimignano in Italy. I like to use Parmigiano but Grana Padano will also be very good.

Makes 3 – 4 Servings

½ medium onion, finely chopped
1 Tbsp. each EVO & unsalted butter
1 cup risotto rice**
2 cups chicken stock**or tinned low/no salt chicken broth
1 cup dry white wine
1/16 to 1/8 tsp. saffron threads
½ bay leaf
½ clove garlic, minced
½ tsp. salt
1/8 tsp. freshly ground black pepper

To Finish The Rice: add 2 Tbsp. unsalted butter & 2 Tbsp. freshly grated Parmigiano-Reggiano.

Preheat the oven to 325 F.

Add the saffron to the wine & set aside. Bring the chicken broth & keep warm. In an ovenproof pot, melt the butter with the EVO over medium to medium-low heat until hot. Add the minced onion & sauté until transparent, approximately 8 minutes. Add the minced garlic & stir for a minute, then add the rice & stir until it is coated with the butter & oil and the very tips of the rice grains begin to look transparent. Add the wine, stirring for a moment, followed by the broth, bay leaf, salt & pepper. Fit a piece of tin foil over the pot & top with the lid. Place in the oven and cook without looking, for 20 minutes; check & if the rice is still slightly creamy, it will be done. If not, replace foil & lid and return to the oven for a further 5 minutes. Remove from the oven, stir in the 2 Tbsp. butter and 2 Tbsp. Parmigiano-Reggiano.

**If you would like to read about rice for risotto, please go to Phyllis’ Kitchen/Cooking Tips.

**If you would like to make your own homemade stock, please to go Making Stock.

Creamy Polenta

For a printer friendly version of this recipe, click here.

This version of polenta is basically one that requires very little stirring;  a good thing in my eyes!

4 cups water
1 tsp. salt
1 cup polenta (not quick-cooking)
2 Tbsp. unsalted butter

**If you like you can put a bit of fresh thyme in the polenta while it is cooking.

 

In a 3 quart heavy saucepan bring the water to a boil, add the salt. Whisk while adding the polenta in a thin stream. Cook over medium heat, whisking, 2 minutes. Reduce the heat to low; cover pan, then cook at a bare simmer for 45 minutes, stirring with a long-handled spoon for 1 minute every 10 minutes. Remove from the heat, whisk in the butter until incorporated.

**Polenta can be made 20 minutes ahead, kept, covered, at room temperature, if you allow it to stand longer it will solidify.

 

 

 

Phyllis Signature

Polenta With Fontina And Thyme

I made this polenta the first time on a rainy November night and served it alongside braised lamb shanks. It was the absolute perfect thing to accompany the lamb. But, don’t hesitate to serve with steak, chicken or pork. How about grilled Italian sausages or Italian sausages braised with bell peppers, onions & tomato sauce? Go vegetarian and leave out the sausages. Add some zucchini or eggplant. Sounds good to me!

Makes 4 Servings

5 cups tinned low-salt chicken broth or homemade stock** with a bit of salt added
1 Tbsp. chopped fresh thyme
1 garlic clove, minced
1 cup polenta
1 cup grated Fontina cheese (packed)
¼ cup freshly grated Parmigiano-Reggiano

Bring broth, thyme & garlic to a boil in heavy large saucepan. Gradually whisk in the polenta. Reduce the heat to medium; cook until polenta is thick & creamy, whisking frequently, about 20 minutes. Add cheeses. Stir until melted. Season with salt & freshly ground black pepper. Serve immediately.

 

 

 

**If you would like to make your own stock, please go to Making Stock.

Middle Eastern Couscous

This couscous would make an excellent accompaniment to Lamb.

Makes 6 Servings

1 ½ cups water
2 Tbsp. butter
1 Tbsp fresh lemon juice
1 tsp. salt
1 ½ cups couscous
½ cup green peas, blanched if fresh or thawed if frozen
1/3 cup dried apricots, diced
1/3 cup raisins, soaked in hot water if dried out
¼ cup sliced unblanched almonds, toasted**
¼ cup chopped cilantro
2 Tbsp. lemon rind

Bring water, butter, lemon juice & salt to a boil. Remove from the heat. Add couscous & peas; cover and let steam for 5 minutes. Fluff with a fork. Toss with remaining ingredients & serve.

**If you would like to see how to toast almonds, please go to Toasting Nuts.