Baked Farro Risotto

Here’s something I don’t think I’ve ever mentioned. And it may sound a bit strange. We have heat here in our apartment, we might even have air-conditioning. Never used either. I think what may have happened is this. We didn’t use heat the first year we lived here, not sure why exactly – warm year? Beyond that, every time I thought about turning on the heat, I would consider the dust and god-knows-what-else accumulating in the vents and ducts. I would promptly put on a third sweater instead of reaching for the dial. The office has a fireplace, so I sit near that quite a bit. But the kitchen gets quite cold. So, when the weather cools off, I tend to bake. The oven keeps the kitchen cozy, and now and then I stand in front of it, crack the door, and let the hot air flow up under my sweater to warm me up. I baked this farro “risotto” last night instead of cooking it stove top, and it worked out nicely – lemon-kissed, bright tomato sauce, lots of Parmesan, and chopped fresh oregano. I use the term risotto loosely here 🙂

Baked Farro Risotto Recipe

So, here’s what you do. Start the grains on the stove top, add all the liquid at once, cover, and transfer to the oven for the better part of an hour. If you have a medium/large oven-proof casserole, like a Le Creuset, you can go start to finish in the same pot/casserole. Although, I can’t remember if the knobs on the lids of Le Creuset can handle a 400F oven? It may be too hot – you may still need to use foil to cover the pot.

Calling this a risotto is a bit of a stretch, it’s not particularly creamy or loose. It won’t run across a plate. But when I make it on a stove top, I use a risotto technique, so that’s sort of how I think of it. If you think you might like a more oozy, cheesy version, use small cubes of good mozzarella in place of the Parmesan in the recipe below, or experiment with a blend. I mean, it’s cheese – you can make it as cheesy or un-cheesy as you like. I was after something with cheese, but not over-the-top decadent here.

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