This Creamy Mushroom Farrotto is a twist on traditional risotto, and uses a chewy, whole grain, farro, rather than rice.
Farro– I used pearled farro for this recipe. There are several versions available on the market, including pearled, semi-pearled and unpearled. The pearled version has all of the bran removed from the outer portion of the grain, while the semi-pearled version has only part of the bran removed. Unpearled farro is the whole grain. Although the unpearled grain contains the most nutrients, I recommend using pearled farro because it cooks the fastest and is easiest to use for a risotto. Semi-pearled farro would work too, but you may need to increase the cook time and/or amount of broth in the recipe.
Mushrooms– My favorite mushrooms for risotto are baby portabellas aka cremini mushrooms. They’re easy for most people to find and have a great flavor and texture. Other mushrooms that are great for risotto include shiitake, oyster, chanterelles, porcinis, king oyster/trumpet mushrooms. Some of these mushrooms can be expensive or difficult to find, but feel free to use any mix you prefer. I love making risotto with half fresh baby portabellas and half dried, reconstituted porcini mushrooms, as well. The soaking liquid from the dried mushrooms can be added to the broth to really enhance the mushroom flavor.
Broth– I like to use a low sodium chicken broth so it’s easier to control the sodium level in the dish. Vegetable broth would also work well. Homemade broth or stock would be even better if you happen to make your own.
Cheese– Look for a good quality parmigiano reggiano cheese for this recipe, rather than domestic parmesan, if it’s in your budget. For extra creaminess and richness, you can add mascarpone cheese, as well. If you can’t find it or don’t want to buy an entire container only to use a few tablespoons, omit it. I wouldn’t personally substitute with American cream cheese.
Toppings– For brightness and a little zing, chopped parsley and lemon zest are amazing toppings for this risotto.
First, soak the farro in cold water (1). This will soften the grain and reduce cooking time. Next, sauté the onions (2). Cook them “low and slow” for the best flavor development. In a separate pan, cook the mushrooms (3). Make sure to season them with salt after they brown in order to facilitate better browning and maintain more moisture and texture. Meanwhile, heat the broth in a pot.
After the vegetables are cooked, combine the mushrooms (reserving some for topping) and onions together in the pot the onions were cooked in. Add the farro and toast about 3 minutes (4). Add the wine and cook until most of the wine has been soaked up by the grain. Then start adding the hot broth, ½ cup at a time, allowing broth to cook out before adding more (5). Once the farro is tender and cooked through, stir in the butter and parmigiano cheese while agitating the pan to create an emulsion. Stir in mascarpone cheese, if using (6). Taste and adjust seasoning, if needed. Serve topped with parsley and lemon zest.
Recipe Tips and FAQs
- Have extra broth on hand in case your farro needs more time to cook.
- Taste as you go to check the salt level. If the risotto is getting too salty, you can always add warm water instead of broth and continue cooking.
- It’s really important stir the risotto vigorously at the end while agitating the pot, to create a smooth, creamy emulsion. Watch a video if you’ve never tried it before!
Farrotto is an Italian grain dish cooked in the style of risotto, which is made of farro, broth, parmigiano reggiano cheese, butter and vegetables, meat or seafood.
Risotto is cooked with a short grain Italian rice, such as arborio or cannoroli. Farroto on the other hand, is made with a whole grain, wheat called farro.
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This Mushroom Farrotto is luscious, creamy and decadent. As an whole grain alternative to rice, farro works very well cooked in the style of risotto.
- 1 cup pearled farro*
- 6 cups chicken or vegetable broth*
- ¼ cup extra virgin olive oil, plus more if needed
- 1 medium onion, chopped
- 1lb baby portabella (cremini) mushrooms, cleaned/trimmed, sliced ¼ inch thick
- ½ cup dry white wine
- ¼ cup finely grated parmigiano reggiano cheese
- 2 tbsp unsalted butter
- 2–4 tablespoon mascarpone cheese (optional)
- ¼ cup fresh parsley, finely chopped (optional)
- Lemon zest, for topping (optional)
- Salt and pepper, to taste
Combine farro and 4 cups of room temperature water in a bowl. Allow to soak for 30 minutes. Drain.
Bring broth to a boil in a pot. Reduce to a low simmer. Cover and keep warm.
While broth is heating, warm a sauce pot over medium-low to medium heat. Add 2 tablespoon olive oil to pot, followed by onions. Season with salt and pepper. For best results, cook low and slow for a total of 20-30 minutes until onions are translucent, sweet and golden in color.
While onions cook, heat a large sauté pan over medium-high heat. Add remaining 2 tablespoon olive oil. Add mushrooms, cooking in 2 batches, if needed to avoid over-crowding pan. Brown mushrooms on both sides for a total of about 10-15 minutes. After mushrooms brown, season with salt and pepper. Use additional olive oil, as needed, if cooking mushrooms in batches. Transfer to a plate until ready to use.
After onions are cooked, add in most of the mushrooms, reserving about ¼ of the mushrooms for topping the risotto. Stir in farro and toast for about 3 minutes.
Deglaze with wine. When most of the wine has reduced, add broth 1 ladleful at a time, stirring between each addition. Keep adding stock until farro is cooked through and you reach desired consistency, roughly 30 minutes. You may need slightly more or less broth than indicated.
Stir in parmesan cheese and butter. Agitate pan while stirring until a thick, creamy emulsion is achieved.
If adding mascarpone, risotto should be a bit tighter than what is desired for the final result. Stir in mascarpone off heat. Taste and adjust seasoning, if needed.
Scoop farro risotto into serving dishes. Top with reserved mushrooms, parsley and lemon zest. Enjoy.
- There are several versions of farro available on the market, including pearled, semi-pearled and unpearled. I recommend using pearled farro because it cooks the fastest and is easiest to use for a risotto. Semi-pearled farro would work too, but you may need to increase the cook time and/or amount of broth is the recipe.
- You may need slightly more or less broth depending on the type of farro you use and how it responds to soaking. If you run out of broth, simply add warm water and taste for seasoning before serving.
- My favorite mushrooms for risotto are baby portabellas aka cremini mushrooms. They’re easy for most people to find and have a great flavor and texture. Other mushrooms that are great for risotto include shiitake, oyster, chanterelles, porcinis, king oyster/trumpet mushrooms.
- For extra creaminess and richness, you can add mascarpone cheese. If you can’t find it or don’t want to buy an entire container only to use a few tablespoons, omit it.
- Prep Time: 10 minutes
- Cook Time: 50 minutes
- Category: Risotto
- Method: Sauté, Boil
- Cuisine: Italian
- Serving Size: ¼ of risotto
- Calories: 490
- Sugar: 5g
- Sodium: 1020mg
- Fat: 28g
- Saturated Fat: 11g
- Unsaturated Fat: 17g
- Trans Fat: 0g
- Carbohydrates: 42g
- Fiber: 5g
- Protein: 17g
- Cholesterol: 38mg
Keywords: mushroom farrotto, mushroom farroto, farro risotto, mushroom farro risotto