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Farro Risotto with Hard Apple Cider, Fennel and Apple

  
Farro is a grain very similar to barley and is also rich in fiber and protein. Farro is also called spelt. It’s extremely comman in Italy, especially the region of Puglia, which is located in the heel. 

This recipe is an adaption of a Food52 recipe. The apple and fennel is sautéed separately and added to the cooked farro. This risotto uses hard apple cider and chicken stock as its liquid. You can make your own hard cider with a non-pasteurized cider that sits in your frig a couple months!

1 cup of dry farro cooks to about 3 cups. A more simple way to cook farro is just as you do pasta, in a large pot of water. The cooking time is longer, 30-45 minutes. Then drain in a colander as you do pasta.

You can also cook it like rice. Add twice as much water or broth as farro. Cover. Bring to a boil. Simmer 30-45 minutes till firm to the bite.

Serves 10-12 side dishes

2 cups farro

1 small onion, chopped fine

2 tablespoons olive oil

1 tablespoon butter

1/2 cup white wine

4 cups hard apple cider, heated

4 cups chicken stock, heated

2 tablespoons olive oil

1 tablespoon butter

1 fennel bulb, sliced or chopped

3 apples, chopped, about the same quantity and size as the fennel

1 teaspoon salt

1 cup white wine

Preparing the apples and fennel:

  • In a large sauté pan heat the olive oil and butter. Add apple and fennel. Sprinkle with salt.
  • Sauté the apple and fennel until browned and carmelized.
  • Deglaze pan by adding white wine
  • Set aside

Preparing the farro

  • In a large saucepan heat olive oil and butter.
  • Add farro. Saute and stir until slightly toasted, several minutes
  • Stir in the wine.
  • Continue stirring close to constantly, add 1/2 cup at a time the cider and stock.
  • It’s time to add more liquid when the spoon leaves a path in the bottom of the pan when it’s pulled through.
  • The risotto takes at least 30 minutes or more to cook.
  • When tender, but firm to the bite, add the prepared apple and fennel.
  • Heat through and serve hot
  • If the risotto becomes dry, add more cider, stock or water.

Pasta with Chickpea-Tomato Sauce

Thank you to Mary Ann Anschutz for this recipe!

1 Tablespoon olive oil

2 garlic cloves, minced

¼ teaspoon red pepper flakes

3 cups cooked chickpeas

Coarse salt, optional

1-28 oz can crushed tomatoes

1-14.5 oz can reduced sodium chicken broth

1 sprig fresh basil, plus torn leaves for garnish

12 oz medium pasta shells

Grated Parmesan for serving

  • In a medium sauce pan heat oil over medium heat. Add garlic and red pepper flakes and cook 30 seconds or until fragrant. Do not brown
  • Add chickpeas, season with salt (optional) and cook 5 minutes.
  • Add tomatoes and broth and bring to a boil. Simmer about 20 minutes or until sauce has reduced slightly.
  • Add basil and cook 5 minutes. Remove basil.
  • While sauce is cooking, cook pasta in a large pot of boiling water till al dente; drain and return to same pot.
  • Add sauce to pasta and toss. Serve with Parmesan and garnish with torn basil.

Nutrition Notes: Chickpeas/Garbonzo beans are a high fiber, low fat, and high protein substitute for meat. They also contain phytoestrogens  which  may protect against breast and prostate cancers. Tomatoes are rich in antioxidants which protect from harmful free radicals.