Friday, May 28, 2010

It's finally spring!

I could not have been more excited to walk into Farms View last week, ready to buy the very first produce of the season - strawberries, arugula and scallions. With produce that's truly fresh from the field, you really don't need to do much to it, so I made this simple risotto that uses farro, an ancient European grain, instead of rice. Farro is rich in fiber, vitamin B and protein, and is a perfect addition to any diet. Combined with legumes, it provides complete protein for the vegetarian diet, so consider serving a lentil salad along with this dish for perfect nutrition. It's also utterly delicious and much more forgiving than rice when making a risotto. Served with strawberries sprinkled with a little sugar for dessert, it was a plate of spring, and just what was needed!

1 cup farro, well rinsed
water to generously cover
1 tsp. kosher salt, plus more for seasoning
3 tablespoons olive oil
1 large bunch scallions, sliced, white and light green parts separated from dark green parts
1/4 cup dry white wine
2 cups well-flavored vegetable stock, kept at a simmer
1 large bunch arugula, thinly sliced
Freshly ground pepper and more olive oil to garnish

Bring water, farro and 1 tsp. salt to a boil, and cook for 20 minutes, stirring occasionally. Drain well and set aside.

Heat a large sauce pan over medium-high heat, and add white and light green parts of scallions (reserve dark green slices for later!). Saute for 2 or 3 minutes with a pinch of salt, then add farro and white wine. Cook, stirring constantly, until wine has evaporated. Working 1/2 cup at a time, add the hot stock. stirring frequently. With the last 1/2 cup of stock, add the scallion greens and the sliced arugula. When most of the stock is absorbed, remove from heat, and season to taste with salt, freshly ground pepper and a little more good olive oil.

This dish is lovely as it is, and makes a perfect light lunch or first course. Those who eat dairy could, of course, stir in a little butter and grated parmigiano at the end, but this risotto is so light and fresh, you may find you don't need it.