"It's difficult to think anything but pleasant thoughts while eating a homegrown tomato" [lewis grizzard]
Thank you, Lewis Grizzard, for those words of wisdom. I'd add that it's also difficult to think of something more pleasant to cook on a weeknight than this one-pot farro. Warm, comforting, and easy to adapt to any flavor combination you like, this recipe is a brilliant trick for taking a handful of ingredients and melding them all into something far more complex-tasting than the sum of its parts. And you only need to wash one dish!
You throw all of your ingredients into a pot, and let them cook while you go tend to important tasks, like some light weeding in your garden, or whipping up some raw cookie dough for an "emergency" later, or watching old episodes of Gilmore Girls. Really, any important task.
Thirty minutes later, it's ready. The grains soften and are infused with the flavors you pick (next I'm thinking I'll try an Asian version with sesame oil, tamari, snow peas, and bell peppers) and have become an excellent canvas for an unhealthily large amount of Parmesan cheese.
Adapted from Smitten Kitchen
2 cups water
1 cup farro*
1/2 yellow onion
2 cloves garlic, minced
handfuls of good small tomatoes!
1 1/4 teaspoons coarse sea salt
dash of red pepper flakes
1 tablespoon olive oil
handfuls of basil, sliced into ribbons
1 cup Parmesan, grated
Okay, don't even get nervous about this. But take a medium sized pot and put ALL the ingredients in it, except the cheese and basil. Seems wrong, but it's right. Then, bring it to a boil, stir it around a bit, turn it to a simmer, and cook for about 30 minutes.
Check around 30 minutes -- it's ready when the grains are soft but retain a bit of bite. The cooking time depends on the kind of farro you use. I used semi-pearled, but check the directions for the type you have.
Stir in the basil and cheese, and serve. This is endlessly adaptable -- use any grain you like, and any flavor combination. Just don't add the delicate things (basil, cheese, etc.) until the end, and I'd wait to add finishing flavors (soy sauce, vinegar, etc.) until the end as well.
Try Asian, with farro, bok choy, soy sauce, a touch of honey, and sesame seeds. Or maybe onions, Gruyere, chicken stock, and spinach? It's really a true "pantry/fridge dish -- use up whatever odds and ends you have! The only measurements to worry about really are the grain/liquid ratio (but you can always add more if it cooks off and isn't ready yet), and the cooking time. Otherwise just add things to your own taste. If you love tomatoes, throw in a ton! It's your dinner!