Monday, June 10, 2013

Experiment #3: Summer Pesto Farro

Little is more delicious on a hot day than fresh veggies and herbs. It was 85 degrees in my house with the swamp cooler on this afternoon, so it seemed like a good day to make a refreshing pesto.

I found this Giada de Laurentiis recipe while searching for easy farro recipes last week. For those of you who've never had it, farro (sometimes called wheatberry) is a type of whole wheat that's been harvested in the Mediterranean and Middle East for centuries. It's a slightly sweet, slightly nutty substitute for rice or pasta. Compared to modern wheat, farro has more fiber and protein and its gluten is easier to digest.

I liked how simple Giada's recipe was, but found it to be too heavy on the parsley. I also had some baby spinach to use up, and I figured I could hide its lovely nutrients from B underneath the herbal flavors (it worked!). Here is the delicious result:

Summer Pesto Farro - serves 4
  • 8 oz semi-pearled farro
  • 4 c vegetable stock
  • 1/2 cup parsley
  • 1/3 cup basil
  • 1/2 cup baby spinach
  • 3 cloves garlic
  • 1/2 tbsp dried thyme (or 1 tbsp fresh thyme)
  • 2 1/2 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
  • 1/2 tbsp red wine vinegar or apple cider vinegar
  • 1 tbsp nutritional yeast
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1/4 tsp black pepper
In a pot, bring the stock to a boil. Add the farro and stir. Cover, reduce the heat to low, and cook for 25 minutes or until the farro is tender. 

While the farro cooks, prepare the pesto. Put the parsley, basil, spinach, garlic, and thyme in a food processor. Chop to a coarse texture. Add the olive oil, vinegar, nutritional yeast, salt, and pepper to the herbs. Process to desired consistency (I like my pesto on the coarse side). 

Once tender, drain the farro and return it to the pot. Add the pesto, mix, and adjust the salt and pepper to taste. 

Serve as a light main dish with added veggies (fresh peas would be awesome. I had marinated artichoke hearts.) or as a side dish (B ate his on the side with chicken sausages). 

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