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Farro Risotto With Mushrooms

mushroom risotto

This recipe features five different types of mushrooms: golden oysters, king oysters, chicken mushrooms, creminis and -- a special treat from the woods behind my cabin -- hedgehogs.

I looked out the window the other day and saw a line of bright orange mushrooms. It's too late in the season for chanterelles, so I did some research and spoke with a mushroom expert. He told me, "Congratulations, you have hedgehogs!"

Before we cook these beauties, we flip them over and scrape off the veils underneath. They come right off, almost like sawdust. Put those hedgehog bits in your garden or at the base of a tree and maybe you'll encourage mushroom growth in that spot next year.

The base of this dish is farro, which looks a lot like wheat berries. In fact, farro is an Italian wheat variety. The two grains behave differently after they're cooked. Wheat berries stay nice and plump, almost like popcorn kernels. Cooked farro falls apart, which is why it's a great substitute for rice in risotto.

Cook the farro ahead and this recipe whips up in no time. Be sure to not rinse the farro as you would with some other grains. The starch from the exterior will combine with the white wine to create a luxurious sauce.

A note about parmesan cheese before we send you off to the stove. Go light on the salt early on in the recipe. The parmesan on its own might add just the right amount of salt for your taste. Remember -- you can always add more salt, but you can't take it out!

Farro Risotto With Mushrooms


  • 1 quart water, chicken or vegetable stock
  • 1 1/2 cups farro
  • 2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
  • 1/2 cup finely chopped onion
  • 1 pound cremini mushrooms or wild mushrooms (or a mixture of the two), cleaned, trimmed and sliced
  • Salt to taste
  • 2 large garlic cloves, minced
  • 2 teaspoons chopped fresh rosemary
  • 1/2 cup dry white wine
  • 2 teaspoons lemon zest
  • Freshly ground pepper to taste
  • 1 to 2 ounces Parmesan cheese, grated (1/4 to 1/2 cup)
  • 1/4 cup chopped fresh parsley


  1. Cook the Farro in the stock until most of the liquid is absorbed and the grains are tender. Some will start to breakdown and thicken the broth. About 45-50 minutes.
  2. Heat the oil over medium heat in a large, heavy nonstick skillet. Add the onion. Cook, stirring, until it begins to soften, about three minutes. Add sliced mushrooms. Cook, stirring, until they begin to soften and sweat. Add salt to taste, the garlic and rosemary. Continue to cook, stirring often, until the mushrooms are tender, about five minutes. Add the par-cooked farro to the mushrooms. Cook, stirring, until the grains of farro are separate and beginning to crack, about two minutes. Stir in the wine and lemon zest and cook, stirring until the wine has been absorbed, 5-8 minutes.
  3. Farro should be tender and just slightly saucy. Turn off the heat and fold in parmesan cheese and parsley. Season to taste with salt and pepper and serve.

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