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Farro Mushroom Risotto with Sage and Thyme

Farro (also known as emmer) is an ancient form of wheat low in gluten and high in protein (12%).  This nutrient-rich grain is grown in Washington State.  One farm that sells certified organic emmer is Bluebird Grain Farms (  This recipe is an adaptation of a recipe from Jason Wilson, chef of Crush Restaurant found on the Bluebird Grain Farms website.

1 cup of farro/emmer
, soaked 6-8 hours
3 tablespoons butter, divided
teaspoon sea salt
3 -4 cups vegetable or chicken stock
1 cup white wine
3 Portobello
mushrooms, sliced and chopped
3 tablespoons chopped sage

1 tablespoon chopped thyme

1. Drain soaking water off of emmer.  Heat a heavy stock pot to medium low.  Add emmer and toast until dry, stirring frequently.  It is very important to soak the grains, otherwise more liquid will be needed to create a tender grain.

2. Add 1 tablespoon of the butter and salt and stir until grains are coated.

3. Add of the stock and bring to a simmer.  Stir occasionally until most of the liquid has evaporated.  This will take about 15-20 minutes.

4. Begin adding the remaining stock and wine cup at a time waiting until the liquid is absorbed each time before adding more.  This will take some time at least 50-60 minutes.  Honestly, the slower and longer, the better.   The emmer is done when the grain has no chalky interior when bitten into.  A few grains may split while cooking, but there should not be too many.  The grain will be chewy.

5. Melt remaining tablespoon of butter in a skillet over medium low heat.  Add mushrooms, sage, and thyme and saut until tender.

6. Fold mushrooms and herbs into finished emmer and heat through.  Taste for seasoning.  Add more salt and butter if needed.

Preparation time: 1 hour + soaking time
Makes 5-6 servings

Copyright 2010, C. Lair, Original recipe.


Brooke Lucy
This is so fabulous. Thanks so much for featuring our farro Cynthia! I use your recipes weekly as I scramble to prepare food for my family. It is such an honor to have a mention.
November 9, 2010, 8:51 pm

I predict a motel stay their future....
November 9, 2010, 8:55 pm

Annette Romano
Hi Cynthia! I just wanted to say thanks for this fantastic site and make a comment about farro. My first experience with it was up at Oddfellow's and it was so delicious, I've been making it ever since. It truly qualifies as my favorite grain now. In the batch I made last night I put carmelized onions, goat cheese and dry-cured olives. And this may sound weird, but I used just a spoonful of fresh salsa on top of my serving. Really good! Annette Romano
November 9, 2010, 9:09 pm

Lynne Lil
Sounds really good. Wondering if I could substitute Kamut? (by the way, great apron/blouse combo, Cynthia)
November 10, 2010, 10:23 am

Ken Drummy
The classic giblet gravy: Those perfect tiny morsels of pure turkey flavor suspended in a silky gravy that clings lovingly to everything and marries all flavors!
November 10, 2010, 4:50 pm

That sounds really good. I have a feeling you guys are going camping soon. Is that why you were doing a shoot outside on the news? Where did I see that? Anyway, fun stuff. Keep em coming.
November 10, 2010, 10:19 pm

Colleen Richardson
My favorite Thanksgiving side dish is fresh cranberry relish made with raw cranberries, orange (peel and all), crystalized ginger and a few other items. Fresh and zingy!
November 11, 2010, 2:19 pm

Great post! Im looking to make some changes in my own eating habits and learning to cook, so I appreciate your insight a lot! Thank you. I recently stumbled upon this blog like I did yours and I thought your readers may appreciate it: Ive started to look for their stuff more regularly and I think Im going to add your blog to my list as well. Thanks for the post!
November 11, 2010, 5:53 pm

elizabeth ramstad
I love any kind of chutney or cranberry relish--esp with orange and ginger, nuts, etc. YUM! Can't wait!!!
November 13, 2010, 12:26 am

mary stutesman
I am having trouble finding emmer locally. What might be a good substitute in this recipe?
November 22, 2010, 7:50 am

Cynthia Lair
Mary, You can try using whole spelt. Or click on the link to bluebird farms in the recipe and you can order this grain directly from them/
November 22, 2010, 9:22 am

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