Another recipe inspiration from Nigella who can make every ingredient tantalizing. This risotto is so 'mushroomy' delicious and filling you will forget there is no meat included.
Nigella stresses the use of Pearled Farro (Farro Perlato) which means it has been husked. Regular Farro (unhusked) would require much longer to soften.
The cooking time might initially seem lengthy, but you cook, walk away, come back, stir - so it is good as it does not command constant surveillance. I hope you enjoy this hearty ‘risotto’, to which I have added a few of my own favourite ingredients.
Preparation: 5 minutes
Cooking, checking, cooking: 40 minutes
Serves 5 - 6 (maybe with a little for lunch the next day if you are lucky)
100 gram dried porcini – soaked for 5 minutes in 125 ml just boiled water
2 – 3 tablespoons Olive Oil
1 Leek – trim and wash well to remove any grit between layers. Halved and finely sliced.
Or if none available - you could use a very finely sliced white onion
500 gram Pearled Farro
60 ml (3 tablespoon) Marsala
1 ¼ cups (1.25 litres) Vegetable Stock – or you could use Chicken Stock. Just be sure it is Salt-Reduced
250 gram Swiss Brown Mushrooms or Portobello - sliced. Regular supermarket cap mushrooms are okay in a pinch - but will have much less ‘mushroomy’ flavour
Leaves from a Few sprigs of thyme and ½ sprig rosemary – chop the rosemary leaves a little
½ red chilli – finely sliced. Leave out or increase to 1 chilli depending on your preference
1 clove garlic – peeled and grated
6 leaves of kale. Destalked and chopped roughly
3 Tablespoons Ricotta (fresh ricotta is preferred as it is firmer than the tub brands)
Small pinch ground white pepper
3 Tablespoons finely grated Parmesan
Finely Chopped Italian parsley to scatter over before serving
Use a wide heavy base pan with a lid. Plus you will need a 2nd medium size frypan later.
Heat 2 tablespoons of Olive Oil and stir the sliced leeks through. Cook over a medium heat until leeks are soft (approx. 5 minutes)
Drain the porcini and reserve the soaking liquid. (have a quick check there is no grit in the porcini or liquid before adding to the ‘risotto’ )
Add the porcini to the leeks and stir through using the spoon to break up some of the larger pieces of porcini.
Add the Farro and stir through to combine. Pour in the reserved liquid and Marsala and bring to gentle bubble.
Pour in the stock, stir well, bring to boil, cover with lid and reduce to simmer for approx. 30 minutes – or until Farro is soft and liquid absorbed.
When the Farro has been simmering for about 15 - 20 minutes: Heat 1 tablespoon Olive Oil in the 2nd pan and add the sliced mushrooms, garlic, herbs and chilli. Stir and cook for 5 – 10 minutes until mushrooms are golden and soft.
Toss into the Farro and stir the mushrooms through.
(TIP: If the Faro has been cooking for 30 minutes and not soft or if more liquid is needed just add a trickle of boiling water, stir and re-cover with lid until cooked).
Use the mushroom pan to wilt the Kale until cooked but still retains a little crunch. This will not take long. Add to the Farro mushroom mixture.
When Farro cooked, turn off the heat and stir through the ricotta and Parmesan.
Taste and season with a little white pepper if you desire.
Sprinkle the chopped Parsley over the ‘Farro risotto’.
Spoon into bowls to serve.
If you have very very hungry folks to feed, you could serve with slices of crusty bread but I find this is quite hearty and filling on its own.