That lasted about a week.
Now the flowers are gone and it has been raining and chilly. Our beautiful wisteria has gone back to being a flowerless nuisance, getting tangled in our rolling shutters, crumbling the stucco of the building façade and the paint on the pre-war wooden fixtures, attracting pigeons to nest in, and making our kitchen pretty dark. I will admit that it helps keep the room cool in the blazing summer heat, but it also unfortunately hides the view of our building's quaint courtyard and magnolia tree.
But that is the cycle of life, of nature, is it not? And what makes it all the more special: nature shows itself for an instant in all of its ravishing, fleeting beauty, only to leave us with the memory of what was and what can be, for the rest of the year.
Luckily nature, besides providing vegetation with transient beauty, also offers a great variety of plants for our everyday nutrition. Some of these less-known varieties - like farro, which has been around for millennia - are experiencing a comeback.
|Clockwise: in the making|
A farrotto is simply a risotto made with farro, or if you prefer, farro made using the risotto technique. You can use pretty much any ingredient to make this, just as you would in risotto, but here I used the most humble of pantry ingredients, canned tomatoes.
This dish is not gluten free, as some may think, because farro is a member of the wheat family, but it does offer a valid alternative to white rice, especially for those who are looking to substitute highly-processed white carbs. You may not be eating less calories, but what you are ingesting is a complex carb that breaks down slowly, making you feel fuller for longer. Farro is also a cholesterol-lowering fiber (about 8gr per cup versus the 4gr per cup provided by white rice!). Farro is rich in magnesium, vitamin B, and protein, and although I eat it for all of these reasons, our main reason for buying it is its nutty flavor and pleasantly chewy texture.*
1-1.5l vegetable stock
1 400gr can chopped tomatoes
1 medium-sized yellow onion, diced
1 large clove garlic, slivered or chopped
4-5 anchovy filets
extra virgin olive oil
Heat some olive in a pot. Peel and dice/sliver the onion and garlic. Cook them in the olive oil on a low flame, until the onion is soft, then add the anchovy filets. When they have melted, raise the flame a little and add the chopped tomatoes (or you could add the farro beforehand to toast it a little). When all the flavors have melded, pour in the farro and start making the farrotto, by adding a little stock whenever the grains have absorbed most of the liquid and stirring a little. Constant stirring is not necessary, because the grains do not release starch like white rice would. Also, the hull doesn't stick as easily to the bottom of the pot. When the farro is ready (keep tasting, but it will remain al dente, with a little bite), serve immediately sprinkled with Parmesan cheese, freshly ground pepper and a drizzle of extra virgin olive oil.
|We sprinkled over a little Pimenton de la Vera this time (see above)|
* Please note that this is a personal blog and that I am by no means a professional nutritionist, dietitian, or doctor. The information on this blog is purely based on my personal opinion, experience, and research.