Farro with porcini, aged Parmesan and Barolo

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Indy Lifestyle Online

This is wintery in feel, but as l write the weather is miserable - it has rained all weekend - and l have dressed for the spring, so l feel cold, wet and in need of warm cheer.

Farro is an extraordinary absorber of flavour and, when matched with the right flavours, is very, very comforting.

2tbsp extra-virgin olive oil
1 yellow onion, peeled and finely chopped
2 cloves of garlic, peeled and chopped
3 sage leaves, coarsely chopped
120g/41/4 oz dried porcini, soaked in 250ml/8fl oz of warm water
300g/10oz farro
250ml/8fl oz good-quality chicken stock
250ml/8fl oz Barolo (or full-bodied red wine)
75g/3oz of Parmesan, half grated and half shaved
Sea-salt
Freshly ground black pepper

Place the olive oil in a medium-sized, heavy-based saucepan over a gentle heat. Add the chopped onion, garlic and sage and also a pinch of salt.

Take half the porcini from the water they are soaking in and chop roughly. Add to the saucepan and stir once or twice to combine. When the onion is soft (after 5 minutes or so), add the farro and stir well to coat in the olive oil, garlic, sage and porcini.

Add the chicken stock and wine and turn the heat up slightly and cook for between 20 and 30 minutes (farro and spelt cook quite quickly - you are looking for a nutty tenderness). Stir and taste frequently.

Finish with the rest of the porcini and the Parmesan. Adjust the seasoning; you will need a pinch or 2 of sea-salt and a really generous grinding of black pepper. Serve hot with chewy, peasant-style bread. Alternatively, it's delicious with grilled quail or rabbit. (omega)

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