Have you ever been to Pittsburgh? One might imagine that, being located in Pennsylvania, Pittsburgh has the classic Northeast weather of four gloriously distinct seasons. Well, guess again. The best way I can describe the climate here in the ‘Burgh is that our neighbors grow beautiful tropical flowers and you could mistake the view from our deck for monsoon season in Southeast Asia. For a fair, heat intolerant and delicate damsel like myself, it is far from my ideal climate. So what to cook, what to cook, when you’re longing to dive into a new season but the current season didn’t get the memo?
This recipe is ideal for the summer to fall seasonal limbo. It highlights the peak of summer tomatoes and the peppery punch of fresh basil, but takes a definitive step into fall with the nutty flavor of Farro and the coziness of a risotto.
Let’s talk about the flavor profile of this “farrotto.” This is an intensely savory, umami forward dish. There’s absolutely nothing delicate or subtle about it. Each bite is simultaneously sun-drenched, herbaceous, and earthy.
The ancient grain Farro has a very distinct texture and flavor which bring something unique to the classic risotto. Cooked slowly with a splash of white wine and a stir of tomato paste, the grains take on an additional depth of flavor. Ripe cherry tomatoes are oven roasted with shallot and garlic, then folded into the farrotto with fresh basil, Parmigiano-Reggiano, and butter. A healthy dollop of Mascarpone cheese for the necessary sweet creaminess and fat to balance the salt and acid.
I eat this as a one-bowl meal, but you could serve it as a side paired with a simple protein like pork tenderloin, roast chicken, or seared scallops.Print