Meet your new go-to weeknight dinner! It is flexible, fast and filling in only the best way. Farro with Burrata and Three Veggies is your new family fav.
Just like people, certain dishes have the ability to be more flexible than others. Farro with Burrata and Three Veggies is one of them. Why? It is a type of recipe I call a “building block recipe” because you can use the basic technique and add or subtract any element to make it your own. Hence—flexible. This recipe gives you the chance to make every single person in your family happy. Yup, it’s that magical. If only it could magically make every family member in your life do everything the way you want them to WHEN you want them to…a girl can dream, can’t she?
WHAT IS FARRO?
Back to how magical this farro dish is. I use farro because it has amazing texture and it’s uber good for you (and everyone in your life). Farro is considered an ancient grain and can be used in place of rice in most recipes. It’s super high in fiber (1/2 cup has 34 grams), protein (7-8 grams) and also high in antioxidants, iron, magnesium and more. Bottom line, farro is the grain you should be eating. Especially because it works in so many Italian dishes which is good enough for me.
Farro is also really forgiving. I’m not going to go there about people and forgiveness. That’s a post for another day (maybe another blog?) But farro forgives. Especially if you forget and leave it cooking a little long. It’s a chewy grain (which is soooo satisfying), so cooking it a tad bit more won’t ruin it. Which means no matter who Facetimes you right at the moment when you’re supposed to drain the farro or if something big happens on Bachelor in Paradise right when you’re supposed to drain the farro, you will be forgiven. Farro won’t let you down. It’s that flexible.
WHERE TO BUY FARRO
Farro is easy to find these days. While you can find farro at pretty much any grocery store in the rice aisle, one of my favorites comes from Trader Joe’s which is where I bought this. It comes in a blue bag and is called 10 Minute Farro. There are a couple of ways to cook farro that are outlined right on the bag. I usually use the boil method but also have used the simmer one which is similar to cooking rice. Either way, the end result is perfect every time. And it’s fast.
ONE DINNER IDEA THAT MAKES EVERYONE HAPPY
It’s not easy to make everyone around your table happy. What I love about this farro dish is that you can bring the happy in under 20 minutes with a little pre-planning. It’s kind of like an Italian stir-fry so keep that in the back of your head. Here’s how you do it:
- Make a list of approximately three vegetables that each member of your family likes. For this recipe, I chose green ones, but you don’t have to. If you have some who only likes 1 or 2, that’s ok. I’m going to show you how you can adjust this recipe for them as well. And maybe when they see how pretty everyone else’s plates look, they’ll come around. There I go dreaming again…
- Now, check your list (mental or paper works) and eliminate any that can’t be sautéed on the stove in around 3-5 minutes. This is a fast recipe so if Brussels sprouts are someone’s fav, this isn’t your dish unless you don’t care about timing (and if Brussels sprouts make your list, then turn on the oven and roast those babies). I also would steer clear of potatoes for this recipe.
- Have all the vegetables prepared and ready to go. Chop your onions, trim your asparagus, etc. You can certainly do this with the veggies I show here but if, for example, green beans are your thing, account for the fact that they take a little longer to prepare.
CHOOSY EATER ADJUSTMENTS
While your farro is cooking, you’ll start sautéing your vegetables. Always start with the onions as they’ll take the longest to cook properly so that you get the most flavor. There’s nothing better than onions cooking on the stove. If you really want to attract your teenagers away from their screens to hang with you, just start cooking some onions on the stove. I guarantee you’ll get a “oooo, what smells so good?” And then you’ve got them trapped and you can ask about what they did in school today, who they’re crushing on, and maybe, before they run for the hills, what they want to do with their life. Teenagers love when you ask so many questions. Just ask ‘em.
SERVING THE FARRO
But you can make those teenagers happy with their favorite veggies on a bed of farro and a big yummy ball of burrata. Once your onions have cooked, you can add your veggies either together or in shifts depending on who likes what. I cook the onions separately, pull them out and set them aside. And then I add my asparagus and peas to the pan to cook. Once those two are done, I pull them out, add my onions back in along with my spinach and garlic. This way those who don’t like asparagus and peas (and you know who you are) won’t have to have them. I serve those on the edge of the big serving platter while the spinach and onion are tossed in with the farro.
BURRATA THEM UP
I promised you a filling dish and there is one ingredient that helps make this farro so satisfying. And it’s that beautiful burrata that sits on top of the serving bowl like a crown. If you’ve never tried burrata, run don’t walk to the store. You typically can find burrata in the gourmet cheese section of your favorite store. It’s sold in a container surrounded by a liquid to keep it moist. Burrata is the love child of fresh mozzarella and cream. When you crack open a ball of burrata, there is an awesome stringy layer of mozzarella before a center of unbelievably creamy cheese. The creamy cheese coats the farro nicely and plays off the brightness of the lemon tossed with the vegetables. Side note: when you cut into the burrata, it’s best to eat it the same day and it’s also best at room temperature for optimal flavor.
HOW TO TRIM ASPARAGUS
To trim asparagus easily, put down the knife. Pick up one (or a couple) stalk of asparagus holding an end in each hand. Bend the asparagus upwards and it’ll snap exactly where it’s supposed to usually about ¼ of the way from the end.
For a crowd: Makes an awesome buffet dish as it can be served at room temperature. Use at least two balls of burrata and break it up so everyone gets some. Sprinkle top with shards of Parmesan and fresh chopped parsley.
For a few: Make a whole recipe of the farro and but only use half of the vegetables you purchase. Save the remaining to whip up another serving later in the week. Reheat the farro in the microwave or on the stove with a little broth to loosen it up.
Farro with Burrata and Three Green Vegetables
A fresh-tasting dish that works as a side or a great weeknight main dish. Fabulous with Foolproof Chicken!
- 1 bag farro I use Trader Joe's 10 Minute Farro
- 3 cup chicken broth
- 2 1/2 T olive oil divided
- 1/2 onion chopped
- 1 cup fresh English peas
- 1/3 lb fresh asparagus
- 8 oz bag of fresh spinach
- 2 tsp minced garlic or more
- 1 lemon juiced
- 1-2 balls fresh burrata
- dewdrop peppers as a garnish not pictured; optional
- kosher salt and pepper
Assemble all of your ingredients ('mise en place' as chefs say) because you'll be working very quickly.
Bring chicken broth to a boil and add farro. Simmer on low for 10 minutes and drain excess broth.
While farro is cooking, heat 1 T of olive oil in a large saute pan over medium heat. Once it's shimmering, add chopped onion. Season with salt and pepper. Saute onion until translucent and lightly browned about 5 minutes. Remove the onion from the pan and set aside.
If everyone in your house likes all the remaining vegetables, heat 1 more tablespoon of olive oil in the same pan. Once it's heated per above, add the peas and asparagus. Season with salt and pepper. Saute for about 3 minutes until both are bright green. You want the peas al dente.
If needed, add another tablespoon of olive oil along with the reserved onions, spinach, and garlic. Season with salt and pepper. Saute very quickly for about 30 seconds. You don't want the garlic to burn and the spinach will break down very quickly.
Squeeze the lemon juice over top of the vegetables and cook for a few seconds. Turn off the heat. Taste for seasoning.
Assembling the Farro
Put the farro in a large shallow bowl. Top with the vegetables and add a ball of burrata in the center. Make two slits crosswise in the burrata and open a bit so everyone can spoon some into their serving. Alternatively, toss the opened burrata over the farro and then top with the vegetables.
I love adding those baby dewdrop cherry peppers for a burst of color on top and a little heat.
Awesome as a main course with Foolproof Chicken