|Sausage & Mushroom Farro Pilaf|
Farro is the unsung hero of the whole grain world. Farro is an ancient wheat grain that has been enjoyed by cultures for thousands of centuries. It is packed with fiber, B vitamins, minerals like zinc and magnesium, as well as plant-based protein (source). I am completely enamored with farro's unique nutty, roasted flavor and chewy texture, and when it's cooked enough, I find it beneficial for digestion.
During our first truly wintry Nashville week, I found myself with an unshakeable hankering for farro. I have an amazing Farro & Sweet Potato Risotto that I made last year, but I wanted something that I didn't have to 'babysit' as much as a risotto. Pilaf to the rescue! Technically, a pilaf is a Middle Eastern or Indian dish of rice or wheat, cooked in stock with spices, typically having added meat or vegetables. As wheat's ancestral cousin, I figure the pilaf concept can make room for farro, and then I just had fun playing with the other ingredients!To amp up the heartiness factor, I added herbacious Italian sausage and meaty mushrooms to my pilaf. I also used one of my secret-weapon flavor pairings, molasses and tamari, for an extra layer of richness and umami.
Today's recipe is the result of my pilaf experimentation, and we happily gobbled it up for multiple dinners on end (I don't recommend the gobbling; chew!). I like to enjoy mine with a generous shaving of parmesan cheese or nutritional yeast, but Max actually prefers his with a drizzle of ketchup. You could also toss this over mixed greens with a drizzle of balsamic for a wilted salad. If you want to make this vegan or vegetarian, I'd suggest doubling the mushrooms and increasing the garlic and rosemary.
Note that farro does contain gluten, so if you are intolerant or have an allergy/sensitivity, this is not the grain for you. In that case, I'd suggest substituting quinoa or buckwheat in this recipe, cooked in broth according to package directions. Depending on how much broth is left after cooking the grain of choice, you may or may not need to add a little more liquid to the sausage/veggie mixture when you add the grains in.
This pilaf is a perfect dish to make when you're craving something that will warm and satisfy you from the inside out!