Farro Risotto with Arugula, Blood Orange & Walnuts

Farro Risotto with Arugula, Blood Orange & Walnuts

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Drink: A crisp, mineral-driven white with medium-body, like Chenin Blanc, or my nerdy pick, the Kiralyudvar Furmint Sec

There was a glut of arugula.  Somehow when I signed up for the extra 5lb bag of wild arugula with my CSA box, I didn’t understand what exactly 5lbs of arugula looked like.  It’s a huge pile of arugula.  And it doesn’t last forever, like, say, the 15 lbs of extra carrots I took on a few months ago.  So I had to move fast to use it up before the slime set in.

Of course there were arugula salads.  Lots of them.  Love them.  But I needed more vehicles for these lovely, peppery greens.  And preferably things the babes, one and four, would eat.  They love “cheesy rice” (risotto), so the barley risotto with arugula in Heidi Swanson’s Super Natural Cooking, one of my fav’s, was a good place to start.

I decided to go farro vs. barley because I love the chewy nuttiness of farro, plus the semi-perlato variety releases enough starch to make a creamy risotto while retaining much of the whole-grain nutrient value.  With barley there is no in-between – only the pearled variety will achieve the starchy-creaminess you need for risotto, but at this point it is no longer a true whole grain.

I tinkered a bit more, adding blood orange zest and segments and mixing in whole milk greek yogurt at the end for additional creaminess.  The result was a hearty, lush wintertime risotto with unexpected pops of texture and flavor.   The bite of the arugula was tempered by the creaminess of the preparation, so it was naturally kid-friendly without losing any flavor and nutrition.  Win-win!

I had just picked up a case of the Kiralyudvar Furmint Sec, an amazing dry white from an historic estate in Hungary, that was perfect with the bright flavors and creamy texture of the risotto.  Furmint is the grape, a traditional Hungarian variety, that is typically made into the famous sweet Tokaji wines. Dry, I think it tastes like Chenin Blanc, with lush texture, zippy acidity and a nutty, floral, honeyed character. In fact, the estate is the sister property to the famed Huet (think Vouvray) in France’s Loire Valley.  Amazing value for the price – small production, biodynamically farmed – and would be 2x the price if it were from somewhere more famous than Hungary. Love this juice!




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