Monday, February 7, 2011

Bay-Scented Farro with Roasted Root Vegetables

I have been trying to experiment with new grains and farro was at the top of my list. Farro is high in protein and fiber which makes for a healthy and balanced meal when pared with the root vegetables. I found some beautiful rainbow carrots and baby parsnips, turnips, and rutabagas at the farmer's market, but feel free to use whatever combination of root vegetables you can find (although I would avoid potatoes as this would amount to a lot of starch with the farro). To give the farro more flavor, I cooked it with fresh bay leaves (dried is fine too but I needed an excuse to use the fresh bay leaves in our garden) and added sauteed leeks and parmesan cheese. This recipe does have multiple components but none of them are difficult and it comes together to create what is now one of our favorite dishes!

Bay-Scented Farro with Roasted Root Vegetables 
Serves 4

Active time: 20 minutes
Total time: 1 hour

2 lb. assorted root vegetables (such as carrots, parsnips, turnips, rutabagas, etc.), cut into small (~1/2'') pieces
1 T. extra virgin olive oil

8 c. water
500 g (or 2 3/4 c.) farro
1 fresh bay leaf or 2 dried bay leaves
2 leeks, thinly sliced
1 T. butter
1/2 c. freshly grated parmesan cheese
1/2 c. lowfat milk

Kosher salt
Black pepper

Preheat the oven to 425 degrees Fahrenheit. Chop the vegetables and leeks while the oven is preheating.

Toss the root vegetables in 1 T. olive oil and season with 1 t. kosher salt and 1/4 t. pepper. Roast for 45 minutes, stirring once.

After putting in the vegetables, bring the 8 c. water to a boil in a medium saucepan. Add the farro, bay leaves, and 1 t. kosher salt. Cover and simmer over low heat for 25 minutes. Turn the heat off and let stand, covered, for an additional 10 minutes.

About 5 minutes before the farro & vegetables are done, heat 1 T. butter in small skillet, add the leeks, and cook, stirring occassionally, until softened, about 5 minutes.

Remove the vegetables from the oven and set aside. Drain the farro. Not all of the water will be absorbed by the farro and it will have a bite to it - this is the normal texture of farro. Put the drained farro in a medium bowl and add the milk, parmesan cheese, and leeks. Stir to combine well and let the farro absorb some of the milk. Season with 1 t. kosher salt.

Spoon the farro onto a plate, top with some of the roasted vegetables, and serve.

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