Fall is here! As much as I love summer and all of its wonderful produce, I have to admit that I look forward to cooler days, fallen leaves, and that crispness in the air that makes me crave warming meals, red wine, sweaters, and boots. This recipe is a wonderful way to bring in the fall with a healthy and hearty risotto made with farro (a whole-wheat grain) rather than the traditional arborio rice, combined with wild mushrooms, browned cauliflower, and finished with truffle oil. I made it for a small dinner party by sauteing the mushrooms and cauliflower in advance, then making the risotto as we got closer to dinner time and stirring in the mushrooms and cauliflower later. I have to say we all thought it was a wonderful dish (even the guys loved it).
Farro Risotto with Cauliflower, Mushrooms, and Truffle
Active Time: 1 hour
Total Time: 1 hour
Extra virgin olive oil
3 c. cauliflower, cut into small, bite-sized florets
5 c. assorted mushrooms (I used king oyster, cremini, and shitake), chopped (if using shitakes make sure to cut the stems off as they can be tough)
4 shallots, minced
1 t. fresh thyme, minced
1 1/2 c. farro
1 c. dry white wine (such as Chardonnay)
4 c. low-sodium vegetable stock
1/4 c. lowfat milk
1 c. freshly grated parmesan cheese
White truffle oil, for serving
Heat 1 T. olive oil in a large skillet over medium high heat. Saute the cauliflower with a pinch of salt and pepper until softened and browned in places, about 5 minutes, then remove from the pan and set aside.
Heat another 1 T. olive oil in the same skillet over medium high heat, add the mushrooms, a pinch of salt and pepper, and cook until softened, about 5 minutes, then remove from the pan and set aside with the cauliflower.
When ready to make the risotto, heat 1 T. olive oil in a large saucepan or dutch oven over medium heat. In another saucepan, heat the vegetable broth until warm, then keep at a simmer. In the saucepan/dutch oven with the olive oil, add the shallot and thyme and saute until shallots are softened, about 2 minutes. Stir in the farro and coat with the shallot mixture. Reduce the heat to medium-low, add the wine and cook until the liquid is about absorbed, a few minutes. Add 1 c. of the heated vegetable stock at a time, stirring often, until each cup is absorbed, which takes about 20-25 minutes in total.
Add the mushrooms and cauliflower back to the pan, and stir to heat through, about 2 minutes. Add the lowfat milk (farro is less creamy than arborio rice so needs this) and parmesan cheese. Season to taste with salt and pepper. Spoon the risotto into pasta bowls, top with a drizzle of truffle oil, and serve.