We’ve been intrigued by Farro recently.
It has started appearing in some of the more upscale restaurants around town — reminding me of Polenta’s sudden promotion to a “fancy” entree about a decade ago, even though it has long been a staple food for the poor in Europe.
There seems to be a bit of confusion on what, exactly, this ancient grain might be. Depending on who you ask, it could be Emmer, Spelt, or Einkorn — which are all closely related.
The cooked grains are high in fiber and protein, and have a mild, nutty flavor. They’re chewy, not mushy.
The big caveat on this otherwise easy dish is that it takes about 90 minutes to cook the grains — so be sure to plan ahead and leave ample time for them to cook thoroughly. Oh, and the last twenty minutes are a little hectic, as you need to manage several burners at once. This is a good dish to make with a friend.
Rather than frying or baking the tofu (which would toughen it), we decided to simmer it in vegetable stock. The result was smooth, soft tofu slices, which made a perfect contrast to the chewy Farro grains.
Farro with Vegetables and Simmered Tofu
Simmer the tofu in vegetable stock. The result was smooth, soft tofu slices, which made a perfect contrast to the chewy Farro grains.
- 1 cup farro uncooked
- 5 1/2 cups chicken or vegetable broth divided
- 2 cups broccoli cut into bite-sized pieces
- 1 cup thinly sliced cabbage
- 1/2 cup sliced carrots
- 16 ounces extra-firm tofu
- 1 teaspoon sesame seeds
- Salt and pepper to taste
- Add the farro and 3 1/2 cups of the broth to a medium saucepan, and simmer for about 90 minutes. Once the grains are cooked to the desired texture, drain any excess broth.
- When there are about 15 minutes left, steam the broccoli, cabbage, and carrots (and any other veggies you want) in a small saucepan.
- At the same time, bring the remaining 2 cups of broth to a boil in a saute pan or skillet. Slice the tofu into 1/2” strips, and simmer gently in the broth, for about 10 minutes.
- One more thing while you’ve got all this going on: Toast the sesame seeds until they’re lightly browned.
- Mix the cooked vegetables into the farro. Salt and pepper to taste.
- To serve, place the farro and vegetables in a bowl and gently lay the tofu on top using a slotted spoon. Sprinkle the tofu with the sesame seeds and serve.