Farro for the Cold
Whole-Grain Comfort Food at its Best
RECIPES AND PHOTOS BY MEGAN GORDON
Seattle winter always feels most acute in January and February. The buzz of the holidays is behind us, and the days are increasingly shorter. When I first moved to the city from California about five years ago, February was a struggle. I recall strolling the farmers’ markets, wondering where the citrus was displayed and forcing myself to take a lot of walks — even in the rain — because that’s what most locals said I should be doing. Today, the city and the weather have both grown on me, and one of the ways I like to cope with the shorter days is by cooking hearty comfort foods that make the house smell great and keep me energized.
Lately, farro is my go-to winter staple – and for good reason. With twice the fiber of brown rice, a pleasant chewy texture, and a mild earthy flavor, farro is having a real moment. You’ve likely seen it on restaurant menus around town or for sale in big-box stores, and that’s because there’s a lot to like in this small nutritional powerhouse. Farro releases some of its starch when it cooks, so it becomes almost creamy, making it a strong candidate for pilafs, risotto-style dishes, and morning porridge.
Farro is part of a larger wheat family consisting of three ancient varieties: emmer, spelt, and einkorn. When shopping, you’ll come across perlato (pearled) farro and semiperlato farro. I choose the latter because it has more fiber. And I stock up, because while the winter can feel long, it’s made all the brighter with a full pantry and a warm frittata or colorful grain salad on the kitchen table.