February 8, 2010

A Whole Grain Kind of Monday

Ah the super bowl.  That special time of year when it seems perfectly normal to eat chips and salsa and beer for dinner.  Until you wake up and your body is in revolt.  As such, I knew I needed a healthy and nutrient packed dinner tonight.  I went to my standbys of course, Brussels sprouts and kale, but I also decided to live a little outside of the whole grain box.  I’ve discovered farro, you see, and although I might be a little late jumping on the bandwagon, I’m hooked.  It’s nutty and rich without needing much coaxing, and prepared risotto style it was filling and comforting.  Added bonus, because it’s not as starchy as Arborio rice, it does not require the same amount of constant stirring that a traditional risotto would.  I used a recent NY Times recipe for my inspiration and loved the earthy taste of the mushrooms with the farro. I prepared a raw Brussels sprouts and kale salad on the side, which with a citrus and sweet dressing was just what the doctored ordered.

Mushroom Farro Risotto (adapted from The New York Times)
Serves 2-3

Olive oil
¾ c. farro
½ c. onions, chopped
2 garlic cloves, minced
½ lb. cremini mushrooms, sliced thinly
A few sprigs of fresh thyme
¼ c. white wine
2 c. chicken stock
1 c. water
salt & pepper
¼ c. grated parmesan

Submerge the farro in water for 10 minutes, drain and set aside. In a heavy pan heat the oil.  Add the onions and cook until tender.  Add the mushrooms and stir frequently for about 2 minutes.  Add the garlic and cook until the vegetables are completely tender.  Add salt and pepper to taste.  Add the farro and toast lightly then add the wine and allow the liquid to absorb completely.  Add the thyme and cook down.  Add 2 cups of broth and cover the pan.  Let simmer for 25 minutes, stirring occasionally.  Check the risotto, the liquid will most likely be completely absorbed.  Add the remaining cup of water, cover, and allow to simmer for another 15 minutes or until the liquid is completely absorbed.  Add salt and pepper to taste and incorporate the parmesan just before serving.  Garnish with parmesan and pepper.

Brussels Spouts and Kale Salad (from Real Simple)
Serves 2-3 large side portions

5 large Brussels sprouts, sliced very thinly
1 ½ c. kale, sliced
Juice of 1 lemon
3 tbsp. olive oil
1 tsp. Dijon mustard
2 tsp. maple syrup
salt & pepper

Using a mandoline, thinly slice each Brussels sprout.  Slice the kale into thin strips and add both vegetables to a medium sized bowl.  Whisk the dressing ingredients in a small bowl and add to the greens.  Toss to combine.

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