20 Minute Creamy Parmesan Farrotto

Do you know farrotto? It’s the yumminess that happens when you swap the ancient grain, farro, for traditional arborio rice in risotto. You can make a luscious, creamy parmesan farrotto without stirring until your arm falls off in less than 20 minutes. A simple and comforting side dish for chicken or beef or equally happy on its own as a vegetarian main dish.

Black bowl with farrotto farro risotto on a cream napkin with salt and pepper.

Farro is one grain that is stocked in the Josie + Nina pantry 24/7. I like it better than most short and long grain rices because of it’s chewy texture, nutty flavor and ability to absorb any flavors added to it. And that makes it the perfect choice for risotto..or farrotto as the cool kids call it.

Farrotto is the result of cooking farro risotto style. I am pretty sure once you try it, it’s going to become your favorite way to make this chewy ancient grain.

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Why farrotto beats classic risotto

close up of creamy parmesan farrotto being stirred by wooden paddle.
Farrotto is just as creamy as traditional risotto with less stirring.

Making risotto can be kind of an intimidating process. In the “pro” list for this farrotto recipe:

  • Less stirring. Most risotto recipes require endless stirring and your full attention. Not this farrotto recipe (nor my foolproof risotto recipe for that matter😊)! A few stirs here and there with most of the cooking happening under cover.
  • 20 minute recipe. Equal to the amount of time that you can make a pot of rice!
  • Simple technique. Less high maintenance than traditional risotto with the same creaminess.

Other easy farro recipes like this you’ll ♥️: farro and burrata, warm fall farro salad, and citrus farro salad. Or give my lemon farro pilaf …all so good!

Ingredient call outs

Consider parmesan farrotto a base recipe that you can build on by adding your favorite ingredients. Here’s what you’ll need:

bowls of ingredient for farro and parmesan risotto including farro, butter, wine and parmesan
Easy to find farro from Trader Joe’s, some onion, cheese and broth make farrotto.
  • Semi-pearled farro. Read about all the different kinds of farro but for this recipe, you’ll use semi-pearled. Trader Joe’s 10 Minute Farro is semi-pearled and what I typically use.
  • Chicken or vegetable stock. You can also use mushroom stock.
  • White wine. Adds great acidic flavor but feel free to omit it.
  • Parmesan cheese. I love the Parmigiano-Reggiano sold at Costco. It’s cut from an authentic wheel and has amazing crystal texture and nutty flavor.

Equipment tip

Use a wide skillet with high sides and a lid that fits securely.

How to make creamy parmesan farrotto

Before starting. Heat broth in a sauce pan and keep warm.

If you only have whole farro (it’ll say on the package), I recommend you pulse it in a blender for a couple of pulses to crack the hull which will allow the farro to absorb the broth and become creamy.

sauteed onions in stainless skillet being stirred by wooden paddle.
Saute onion in a bit of olive oil.
wooden spoon toasting farro in stainless skillet
Toast farro for a couple of minutes.
wine being absorbed by pan of parmesan farrotto
Add wine and cook for 2 minutes till absorbed.
  1. Heat some olive oil in a skillet with high sides (and has a lid that fits) over medium heat. Add in chopped onion and saute lightly until translucent, about 5 minutes. Add in minced garlic.
  2. Pour in farro and toast for about 3 minutes. Keep an eye that it doesn’t get too dark.
  3. Season with salt and pepper and pour in wine, if using. Cook for 2 minutes until absorbed by farro.
simmering chicken stock cooking farro risotto
Pour in some broth and then all the rest.
butter being added to skillet of farro risotto.
After farro has cooked, stir in butter until creamy.
stainless skillet of parmesan farrotto being stirred by wooden paddle
Follow with parmesan and remaining broth right before stirring.
  1. Pour in 2 ladles of stock and stir. Cook for about 2 minutes until absorbed then pour in the rest of the warm stock, leaving 1 cup behind in the pot.
  2. Cover the farro and cook for 15 minutes. Remove the lid and the pan from the heat.
  3. Add in butter and stir until melted followed by parmesan cheese. Finish with remaining stock right before serving.

Pro tip

For the creamiest farrotto (and risotto), reserve about 1 cup of broth to stir in right before serving.

-Josie + Nina

Things you need to know

gray bowl with cooked farro farrotto and parsley

Make ahead. Follow the recipe up to the point of adding the butter, etc. Refrigerate until you’re ready to eat. Then heat the cooled/cold farrotto in a skillet over low heat. Then add the butter to melt, followed by the parmesan and remaining stock. Heat the remaining stock up right before serving and mix into heated risotto until creamy.

Storage and freezing. Store any leftovers in an airtight container for up to 4 days. You can freeze cooked farrotto for a month.

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Black bowl with farrotto farro risotto on a cream napkin with salt and pepper.
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20 Minute Creamy Parmesan Farrotto

Do you know farrotto? It's the yumminess that happens when you swap the ancient grain, farro, for traditional arborio rice in risotto. You can make a luscious, creamy parmesan Italian farrotto without stirring until your arm falls off thanks to a few simple techniques. A simple and comforting side dish for chicken or beef or equally happy as a vegetarian main dish.
Cook Time:20 minutes
Total Time:20 minutes



  • Heat broth in a saucepan over medium low heat and keep on simmer.
    3 cups chicken broth
  • To a wide skillet with sides, melt 1 Tbsp butter with 1 Tbsp olive oil. When bubbling, add onions and saute on medium low heat until translucent about 4-5 minutes. You don’t want them to brown.
    1 Tablespoon olive oil, 3 Tablespoons butter, ½ onion
  • Add garlic and stir for about 30 seconds until fragrant.
    3 cloves garlic
  • Pour in farro and toast for 3 minutes, stirring occasionally.
    1 cup farro
  • Add wine and raise the heat to medium and cook until most of the liquid has been absorbed.
    ½ cup dry white wine
  • Add in 2 ladles (1 cup) warm chicken broth and cook for at least 2 minutes until it’s absorbed. Add in the salt and pepper. Adjust the heat accordingly if the stock is absorbed too quickly or too slowly. Add all but 1 cup of stock
    1 teaspoon kosher salt, ½ teaspoon black pepper
  • [If making ahead, stop here and store the risotto in an airtight container in the fridge before proceeding with the next steps]
  • Right before serving, remove the pan from the heat and stir in the cheese and butter until mixed in and melted. Then stir in the final cup of stock and serve immediately sprinkled with additional parmesan cheese and fresh parsley. Correct for seasoning as necessary.
    ½ cup Parmesan cheese, ½ cup fresh parsley
Course: Main Course, Side Dish
Cuisine: Italian
Author: Lori Murphy
Did you make this recipe? Tag @josieandnina or tag #josieandnina!

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