It’s no secret that I am more of a baker than a cook. I like having parameters, guidelines: I like having a formula. Not only is this comforting, but it is incredibly difficult for me to explain in a replicable manner what I’ve cooked, seeing as so much depends on individual tastes. Season to taste, as they say. The way you make a meal one time can be quite different than the last. Cooking is poetry. Baking is science.
I’m willing to work outside of my comfort zone, however. Especially when there’s a chance to attend Eat Write Retreat on the line. Which is exactly what Tuscan Fields is giving away to one lucky blogger who writes a recipe utilizing their farro. I am certainly game for that!
What is farro? Until this challenge, I wasn’t really sure. I knew it was an alternative grain–something to eat instead of rice–but I had no other notions. It simply wasn’t part of my diet.
According to Tuscan Fields, farro is an ancient grain. It is high in fiber and protein, low on the glycemic index, and non-GMO. The last bit is pretty important to me–it’s getting harder and harder to figure out what is GMO and what isn’t, and we do try to avoid GMO when possible. Eating Tuscan Fields farro would make this much easier!
Farro is cooked much in the same manner that rice is. You add water in a 1:2 ratio (farro:water) and boil until the water is entirely absorbed. You can use other liquids, like chicken or vegetable broth, too. I even toyed with making a rice pudding by cooking it in milk and/or coconut milk. Farro is pretty flexible.
Farro isn’t an Asian staple, but it stands in well for rice. In this recipe, I combined teriyaki sauce with fresh pineapple, red bell pepper, and teriyaki ginger chicken meatballs for a bit of an Asian flair to an otherwise Italian grain. It worked fabulously. I intended for the sauce be a bit thin so the farro could absorb some of it, and I think this would help with reheating it for lunch, as well. The end result is a multicultural symphony deserving of accolades. Plus it’s really quick and easy to prepare, making it an excellent option for weeknight dinners when you’re on the run. Nutritious and delicious without the microwave or the frozen foods aisle! Fantastic!
I want to know: Will you track down some farro so you can try this? Are there any other grain alternatives you enjoy?
Asian Flair Farro
- 1 Tablespoon unsalted butter
- 1 cup Tuscan Fields Farro Perlato
- 2 cups water
- 1 Tablespoon EVOO
- 1 large red bell pepper seeded and diced
- 12 ounces Teriyaki Ginger Chicken Meatballs
- 1 1/2 cups fresh pineapple cubed
- 1/2 cup Teriyaki sauce the kind I used had minced garlic in it
- In a medium saucepan, melt the butter over medium high heat.
- Add the farro and toss it in the butter, stirring and heating until fragrant.
- Add the water, stir, and set the timer for 18 minutes, watching the farro. It will be done when all the water is absorbed, which should be around 18-20 minutes.
- Meanwhile, get a skillet out and heat 1 Tablespoon of EVOO in it.
- Add the bell pepper and saute for 1-2 minutes.
- Add the chicken meatballs and saute for 4 minutes.
- Add the pineapple and Teriyaki sauce, heating for a total of 10 minutes. Remove from heat.
- Take out 4 bowls and divide the farro between them.
- Place 4 meatballs in each bowl and then spoon the sauce and fruits over the meatballs and farro. Serve immediately.
Disclosure: Tuscan Fields sent me 2 samples of farro to cook with to enter their contest to win an Eat Write Retreat registration. All opinions and photos remain my own, unless otherwise noted.