Tuesday, March 22, 2011

Farro with porcini mushrooms and pancetta

Day 2 of spring. While the weather gets better and better, I'm sorry to report that my allergies have completely taken over my life. Last night my eyes got so puffy I couldn't even put in my contacts this morning. So on top of the general feeling of discomfort that has affected me for the past few days, I am now also blind as a bat. Ok. That's a slight exaggeration since I'm only -1.50 on each eye, but still. When you are used to wearing contacts and seeing perfectly, not being able to do either thing drives you insane. And before you all tell me to wear my glasses instead, here's a dirty little secret about me: I never bought them because, I figured, why have glasses when contacts are so much better? Sheer genius, I know.

Anyway, the point is I needed some comfort food to make me smile after a whole day of sneezing every ten seconds, so I decided why not farro? It's easy, it's cheap and it's good for you. Farro is one of the most ancient cereals known to men and it's a staple in many central and southern Italian regional cuisines —it's also low in fat and sugars and high in fiber, which are only some of the reasons why I've been preparing it so often lately. It also happens to be cheap, not to mention the fact that is good cold, hot, prepared as a dry dish or in soups. Seriously, what's not to like?

Last night I decided to make it warm, with porcini, pancetta and roasted pinenuts —mostly because I had all the ingredients on hand and the recipe on the Barilla farro box sounded really yummy. I'm usually not one to make recipes found on boxes, but let me tell you: this one was delicious. And comforting. And easy. It was all that I needed after the sneeze-fest that was my day yesterday.
Serves 4

9 ounces quick-cooking farro
2 ounces dried porcini mushrooms
4 ounces minced pancetta or bacon
2 ounces pinenuts
1 small red onion, minced
1 tablespoon chopped fresh thyme
salt and pepper

Get porcini ready by soaking them in warm water for about 20 minutes and then shopping them. Warm up olive oil in a large skillet, add pancetta, porcini and onion and sautee for a couple of minutes. Season with salt and pepper.

Toast pine nuts by cooking them on high in the microwave for 4 minutes.

Cook the farro in abundant salted water, drain and add to the skillet with other ingredients. Sautee for a minute, stirring constantly. Top with roasted pine nuts and serve.


  1. unlike you, i love recipes on boxes, i figure they have been tested over and over ! great dish to welcome the spring.

  2. The mention of your sneeze-fest sends shivers down my spine. Soon we'll be smack in the middle of pioppi season! Arghghgh!

  3. I can so sympathize with the allergy factor, however your farro with the delicious addition of the mushrooms would have cheered me up as well!Yum!

  4. In my effort to try new grains farro is on my list! This looks earthy and delicious!

  5. I'm soooo glad I'm not the only one suffering from all these allergies... I hope we'll all feel better soon, I can't wait to be able to taste my food properly again!

  6. I've looked for farro and I swear, no store in the Rocky Mountains carries it. It's maddening!

  7. Have you tried Whole Foods? I think they carry it. Not the quick cooking kind, unfortunately, but it's better than nothing I guess.



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