Purple Asparagus with Creamy Farro and Roasted Mushrooms

Keiko crashed our neighbors romantic evening last night- yup, I had to run down the street in my socks after her. The couple had been enjoying a nice fire in their chiminea on the patio with Mia the beagle, until we showed up…UGH! So embarrassing.

We returned to the house to find my dinner slightly less hot, Keiko slinked into her crate, ears back and tail down – well aware that she had just been a rude intruder. I don’t know if I was more upset with her for running off and scaring all of us or for taking my attention away from the meal I had barely just plated before she made a scene?

During lunch, I had picked up a bundle of fresh purple asparagus at my local organic market and spent all afternoon wondering what I would make with it.

Gorgeous jewel tone makes me swoon.
this gorgeous jewel tone makes me swoon.

There was this great Farro dish I had made for my family on Christmas Eve and I was reminded of it when I found  container in my cabinets. Right away I knew what I wanted to do –

If you aren’t familiar, Farro is an ancient grain, not to be confused with spelt as the two look very similar. Originating in Egypt and sustained in Italy, this grain is full of nutrition. It has a slightly nutty flavor which is yummy as a side dish, added to soups, or for “beefing” up a salad. It’s also a wonderful alternative to rice or pasta, because let’s face it, sometimes we get bored. Cool fact – It is said that this grain is the grain which all others originate from, pretty big deal ha? Another interesting fact is that even though it is a grain, it is incredibly low in gluten and very easily digested, making it an option for people who are normally gluten-intolerant.

 As I mentioned in my last post, purple asparagus is prefered in Italy which makes it a great companion for the (Italian) Farro! I swear I didn’t do that on purpose but it really came together nicely. People say that we eat with our eyes first and I know that is true for me. I couldn’t stop myself from developing a short relationship with this vividly purple veggie – sadly, the stalks turn green when you cook them. I’d love to see an arrangement of these served raw on a crudite platter – super impressive and a fun pop of color.

Dear cheesy, mushroom studded farro, I love you from the bottom of my gut. Love, K
Dear cheesy, mushroom studded Farro, I love you from the bottom of my gut. Love, K

 I apologize for this (shamefully admitted) cell phone shot – I hadn’t intended on blogging it but after one bite, knew I had to. This dish is simple, flavorful, nutritious, and aromatic. Oh and it only involves a few dishes – a huge plus in our house.

Ingredients:

2 packages of sliced mushrooms. (I did shiitake and baby bella)

1 lb of asparagus – ends trimmed

2 cloves of garlic – smashed

2 tbsp coconut oil

1 cup of raw organic Farro

3 cups low sodium organic chicken stock

1 big glug of red wine – whatever you’re drinking, because who doesn’t cook with a glass of wine in hand?

Extra virgin olive oil

sea salt & cracked pepper

1/3 cup fresh grated parmesan

To prepare:

Pre-heat your oven to 450

Set a medium sauce pot over medium heat, add the coconut oil.

When the pot has reached temperature, add the garlic and allow it to sizzle for about 30 seconds to 1 minute.

Add the Farro and stir with a wooden spoon to coat while it toasts – about 1 minute.

Add the glug of wine and allow it to reduce by half.

Add the chicken stock and bring it to a boil. Reduce to a simmer, cover, and cook for approximately 40 minutes or until all the liquid has absorbed.

Meanwhile – prepare two baking sheets with tin foil. Spread the mushrooms on one and the asparagus on the other. Drizzle both with extra virgin olive oil and sprinkle with sea salt and cracked pepper.

Roast the mushrooms first for a total of 20 minutes, give them a stir halfway through with a wooden or silicone spoon. Something magical happens to mushrooms when they are roasted, to me they go to a whole new level of yum…

When the mushrooms are done, reduce the oven temperature to 300 and bake the asparagus for 20 minutes.

Everything should come together at about the same time – stir the mushrooms and parmesan into the Farro, season with salt and pepper to your liking. Serve over the roasted asparagus – Om nom nom!

So happy Wednesday friends and ciao for now!

~ K

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