Cheesy Baked Farro

by Food Hound on January 28, 2014

in Main Dishes, Sides, Vegetarian

Post image for Cheesy Baked Farro

Let’s shout it from the rooftops!  Knoxville is blanketed in WHITE!

It’s been a while since this Yankee has had winter driving issues- less because of my amazing driving skills, and more because rarely does Knoxville get snow that legitimately threatens the safety of motorists- but today I slid, car ass first, down a lonnnnnng hill that I had almost managed to ascend.  Almost.  I felt like I was in a video game that gave you points for hitting mailboxes on either side of the road, except I didn’t want points!  By some feat of steering, the likes of which would have benefitted the Titanic, I managed to guide my car down, leaving the most hideous tire marks in the snow.  Does it make me shallow that I would have preferred lovely S-like tire marks?  Damsels in distress leave pretty tire marks.  I just looked like a bad snow driver.

In the absence of some sort of warm adult beverage I could appropriately consume before noon, I de-stressed from my brush with car peril and wounded pride with THIS for lunch.

THIS = Cheesy Baked Farro.  And it’s amazing.  I live a mostly mac ‘n’ cheese-free life because I am not much of a pasta fan, so I found the idea of farro as an alternate vehicle for cheesy goodness MEGA exciting!!  The nuttiness from the farro combines with the nuttiness of the Gruyere and Parm, the dominant cheeses, to make a super-gourmet version of everyone’s favorite cheesy, carb-y comfort food.

Cheesy Baked Farro
 
Adapted from Giada
Serves: 6-10 (depending on main vs side)
Ingredients
  • 6 cups chicken broth
  • 2 cups farro or barley, rinsed and drained
  • ½ stick (1/4 cup) unsalted butter, plus 1 additional Tbsp softened to room temp
  • ¼ cup all-purpose flour
  • 2 cups warm whole milk
  • Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • 2½ cups grated Parmesan
  • 1 cup grated Gruyere
  • ½ cup fontina cheese, grated
  • 1 teaspoon chopped fresh thyme leaves
  • Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
Instructions
  1. In a large stock pot, add the chicken broth and bring to a boil over medium-high heat. Add the farro, reduce heat and simmer, stirring occasionally, until the farro is tender, about 25 minutes. Drain, if necessary.
  2. Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F. Butter a 13 x 9-inch baking dish with the 1 Tbsp softened butter.
  3. While the farro is simmering, make the sauce. In a 2-quart saucepan, melt the butter over medium heat. Add the flour and whisk until smooth. Gradually add the warm milk, whisking constantly to prevent lumps. Simmer over medium heat, whisking constantly, until the sauce is thick and smooth, about 8 minutes (do not allow the mixture to boil). Remove from the heat and season with salt and pepper, to taste. Congratulations, you just made a white sauce!
  4. In a large bowl, add the cheeses** and stir to combine. Remove ½ cup of the mixture and reserve. Add the cooked farro, thyme, and sauce to the bowl with the cheese. Stir until combined and season with salt and pepper, to taste. Pour the mixture into the prepared baking dish and top with the reserved ½ cup of cheese.
  5. Bake until the top is golden brown, about 25 to 30 minutes. Remove from oven and let stand for 5 minutes before serving.
Notes
**I had way more Gruyere than parm to use up, so I just used the 4 total cups of cheese (oooooh, how good did it feel to read that?) as my goal. Fontina cheese can sometimes be hard to find, so you can either replace it with more Gruyere or add another really melty cheese, like Emmental. If you want to snub the French and give a nod to the British, maybe try a really sharp cheddar in place of the Gruyere. Either way, 4 cups of cheese, woo hoo!

 

 

{ 1 comment… read it below or add one }

Natalie January 31, 2014 at 2:11 pm

This looks super yummy! 🙂

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