If you are a lover of whole-grain wheat and healthy eating, then you have definitely come to the right place!
Ever heard of farro? Well, if you haven’t, then you are in for a real treat. Ever since I found out about this delicious whole-grain wheat variety, I simply can’t stop using it as a substitute for pasta and rice in a lot of family-favorite dishes. We love to have it with ricotta cheese and some honey! What I really love about farro is just how easy it is to cook.
So, if you are wondering how to cook farro, read on to find out!
What Is Farro?
Farro is an ancient whole-grain wheat with a high protein and fiber content. When I say ancient, I truly mean it; its origins can be traced back to early Mesopotamia – that’s roughly 20,000 years ago! Farro has been a staple in Europe, especially Italy, for decades now. However, it’s finally gaining some much-deserved traction in the US with vegetarians and vegans.
This variety of wheat looks somewhat similar to barley, although it has a slightly more oblong and bigger grain size. Just like barley, farro retains a significant amount of chew and bite when it’s cooked. This is why you can use this whole-grain wheat in dishes that call for barley.
It has a slightly nutty flavor with a hint of cinnamon, which in combination with its chewy texture, makes this grain pretty perfect for stews, soups, risotto-style dishes, salads, casseroles, sautés, and even as a side dish with grilled seafood. It also acts as a good base for dishes that layer different flavors together such as protein bowls, in which it takes on the flavors and characters of a sauce or dressing.
Pro Tip: To truly enhance the nutty flavor of farro, toast the grains in a dry pan until they are golden and fragrant, before cooking them.
How to Cook Farro
Like most grains such as barley and quinoa, farro is pretty easy to cook. You can cook farro by either boiling it in a saucepan or cooking it in a rice or pressure cooker. Let’s take a look at each method in detail:
Here’s how to make farro in a saucepan
- 1 cup of farro
- 2 ½ cups of water
- 1 teaspoon of salt
- A saucepan
- A colander
- Choose the type of farro you want to cook with – whole, semi-pearled, and pearled. The whole-grain variety contains the most fiber, but it also takes the longest to cook (around 3 hours). However, it has the most earthy and nutty flavor. Semi-pearled farro will take about half that much time to cook, while pearled farro will get cooked the fastest in about 20 to 30 minutes.
- Once you have decided which farro you want to cook with, you need to soak it in cool water for about 8 to 16 hours in the refrigerator. If you opted for whole-grain farro, soaking it prior to cooking will significantly reduce its cooking time.
- Then, you need to rinse the farro. Place the grains in a mesh colander and rinse them with cool, running water, until the water runs clear.
- Put water and some salt in a large saucepan and put it on your stovetop over medium heat.
- Wait for the water to come to a boil and then sit in the farro.
- Make sure that the farro is entirely submerged in the water and reduce the heat to medium-low or low so that the water starts to simmer gently.
- Cover the pan with a lid and cook the farro until it’s tender yet chewy. The exact cooking time for the farro can vary from 20 to 40 minutes, depending on the variety of farro that you chose and the texture of the grain that you prefer.
- If you want a mushy texture, then allow whole farro to cook for about 40 minutes, and semi-pearled and pearled farro for about 30 to 35 minutes.
- Keep checking on the farro and tasting it as it cooks so that you can take it off the stove once it has cooked to the desired level.
- Once the farro has cooked, drain all the excess water from the pan.
- Allow the cooked farrow to cool for a few minutes before you serve it or add it to your dish.
Pro Tip: If you are cooking whole-grain farro and you haven’t soaked it prior to cooking, then give it at least 3 hours to boil so that it is digestible.
In a Rice Cooker
Here’s how to cook farro in a rice cooker:
Things You Will Need
- Soak the farro overnight for at least 8 hours.
- Thoroughly rinse the farro under running water.
- Put the farro and water in your rice cooker and set the time to 45 minutes.
That’s pretty much all it takes to cook farro in a rice cooker!
Pro Tip: If you have a rice cooker with optimized settings, make sure to use the "Brown Rice" setting for cooking farro.
In a Pressure Cooker
Here’show to cook farro in a pressure cooker:
Things You Will Need
- Put the farro and water in your pressure cooker and cook it for about 10 to 15 minutes. You don’t even need to soak the farro overnight for this method.
- Make sure to cook the farro for about two to three whistles of the pressure cooker.
Do You Need to Soak Farro Before Cooking?
If you want to speed up the cooking time for farro, then make sure to soak it in cool water the night before you plan to cook it. To soak farro, you need to put the quantity of farro that you will use in your dish into a pot with a tight-fitted lid. Add plenty of water so that the grain is completely submerged in it. Put the lid on the pot and put it in the refrigerator. Let the farro soak for about 8 to 24 hours. If you have ample prep time, then you can skip this part altogether. It will take around 30 more minutes for the farro to be cooked perfectly without soaking first.
How Do You Know When Farro Is Done?
To truly tell whether cooked farro is done or not, you will have to taste it. Ideally, you should let the grain simmer for about 20 to 30 minutes or until it is nice and tender. However, the cooking time varies depending on how much husk is present on the grains. Start tasting the farro after the 15 to 20-minute mark to avoid overcooking it. Keep tasting it so that you can take it off the stove when it has gained your preferred texture. Ideally, farro is done when it’s tender and a bit chewy. It also needs to have an al dente bite.
The Bottom Line
I hope you enjoyed reading this helpful guide on how to cook farro. You can either boil it or cook it in a rice or pressure cooker. Soaking it prior to cooking helps shorten the time for cooking farro. To ensure that cooked farro has your preferred texture, keep tasting it while cooking.