Farro risotto

It’s Friday evening here in Geneva, and it’s been a hard week. I’ve been going to work feeling drained and under the weather – sore throat and aches and pains throughout my body. You know the feeling.

This evening, I couldn’t decide what to make for supper. There’s no one home – call it an empty nest – and for me, cooking is more enjoyable when I cook for others and not just for myself. Nevertheless, I have to take care of myself and I have to eat.

After a quick fridge and cupboard inventory, I decided to make what is featured above – a risotto dish. However, risotto is normally made with rice and I made this one with farro instead of rice, so let’s call it a farroto dish. For supper, I had two bowls of farroto. It was delicious!

I love farro. It’s a grain that I crave when my energy is low. Farro (épautre in French) looks like a cross between brown rice and barley. It has a nutty taste and a chewy texture. The grain is a complex carbohydrate and a healthy substitute for rice or pasta. It’s high in fiber and protein and a good source of magnesium, manganese, zinc and iron. It’s an excellent source of B Vitamins and it helps boost your immune system, regulate blood sugar levels and lower cholesterol.

This evening I’ll be taking it easy. Tomorrow, I plan to get up early and go to the gym. I look forward to tomorrow.

Here’s the recipe. Bon appétit!


Level: easy

Serves: 4-6

Oat cream for cooking. See note below on this product.


  • 3 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1½ cups dry whole grain farro (see note below)*
  • 1 medium-size cooking onion, diced
  • 2-3 garlic buds, pressed
  • 1/3 -1 cup brown mushrooms -or- zucchini with skin, diced
  • 1 teaspoon dried thyme
  • Salt and ground pepper, to taste
  • 1 cup white wine
  • 2 cups of water
  • ½ cup grated gruyère cheese (smoked tofu for vegan)
  • ½ cup oat cream for cooking (see note below)**
  • 1½ – 2 cups dark kale leaves, chopped

*Whole grain farro is better for your health than the pearled or semi-pearled kind. However, the whole grained kind needs to be softened before you cook with it. Normally, I soak the farro in water overnight or for 8 hours. This time, my meal was unplanned and so I put the dried farro in a bowl covered with water and microwaved it with the lid on for 5 minutes on high. You can heat it up a little longer if need be. This will soften the farro. Strain the water and proceed with recipe.

** The Avena Cuisine oat cream contains some carrageenan – a substance extracted from seaweed and used as a thickener. The evidence of it being harmful to human health isn’t conclusive . However, if you have an irritable bowel or you are concerned, you can substitute the oat cream with a carrageenan-free oat milk and allow the recipe to cook a little longer until most of the liquid is absorbed.


In a large deep skillet, heat the olive oil on medium high. Add the onions and garlic and sauté for a few minutes until the onions are soft. Add mushrooms (or zucchini) and sauté for another few minutes.

Add the farro, thyme, salt and pepper and stir well coating the farro with the oil mixture and cook stirring frequently for a few minutes.

Add the wine and the 2 cups of water. Stir well. Cover and cook over medium heat stirring often until much of the wine and water have been absorbed – about 15 or 20 minutes. There will still be some liquid left and that is fine.

Add the cheese and the oat cream. Stir well and cover. Continue to cook the farro stirring often for another 15 minutes. Add the kale and cook again with cover on for 5 minutes until the kale is soft. Remove from heat, cover and let the farro sit for 5 minutes. Serve in individual bowls or as a side dish. Enjoy.

Julie Zimmer

Julie has extensive experience in nursing practice and education in a wide range of fields from intensive/coronary care, to medical-surgical to community and public health. Julie has Bachelor Degrees in Psychology and Nursing, and a Master’s Degree in Community Health Nursing Education. She has taught in faculties of nursing and in various communities in Toronto, Canada and in Geneva, Switzerland, and is a consultant to the International Council of Nurses (ICN). Julie also has years of experience teaching English as a foreign language (EFL) in addition to coordinating an English department in a Swiss private school.

5 thoughts on “Farro risotto

    1. Go for it Daniel! Let me know how it turns out. Here where I live, I can only find the whole grain kind and it really needs to be softened before cooking with it. In Canada, get the whole grain kind as opposed to the pearled or semi-pearled because it has more nutrients. Check the side note that I wrote in the recipe page. Have a good week.

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