Farro Risotto with Cannellini and Basil

I like to cook farro risotto-style for dinner on days when I don’t have the time or attention span to tend a pot the way risotto made with traditional Arborio rice wants a person to do.

Farro is a great whole grain to add to your pantry. It’s a lot like short grain brown rice or barley, but with a little more character. I like the texture of cooked farro; it’s kind of toothsome but not chewy the way you might expect a whole grain kernel to be and it doesn’t take forever to cook – about 20 minutes.

Sometimes we eat this as a vegetarian main dish, or I might put some grilled garlicky shrimp or chicken alongside.

Farro Risotto with Cannellini and Basil

Yield: serves 4 - 6


  • 2 cups farro
  • 3 tablespoons butter
  • ½ onion, finely chopped
  • 2 garlic cloves, finely chopped
  • ½ teaspoon crushed red chile
  • 1 (14 oz) can crushed or chopped tomatoes
  • 1/2 cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese
  • 1 1/2 cups cooked or canned cannellini beans, drained
  • ¼ cup fresh basil leaves, roughly chopped


  1. Cook the farro in a large saucepan of boiling water seasoned with 2 teaspoons salt; check the farro after about 25 minutes. The farro is done when the grains are plump but there’s a slight resistance in the center. Scoop out and reserve 1 cup of the cooking water before draining the farro.
  2. In a large skillet or sauté pan, melt the butter over medium heat; add the onion, garlic and chilie and cook until softened (but not browned).
  3. Stir in the tomatoes and 1/2 cup of the reserved cooking water and bring to a simmer. Cook for about 10 minutes, then add the cheese and beans, stirring to incorporate.
  4. Add the farro to the mixture, stirring gently; add more water if it seems too thick – it should be a little “saucy”. Scatter the basil over the farro and taste for seasoning. Serve with additional cheese at the table.


  1. This looks great; I am a big farro fan.

  2. With fall finally in sight, I want this!!! (of course I want it even when fall is not in sight).

  3. This looks so delicious! I love farro.


  4. oh yum! i love fall recipes…..

  5. How is this the next day? Does it keep OK for leftovers?

  6. Made this today. Sooooo good I can’t stop eating it!!! Thank you so much!!

  7. Making it for the 4th time tonight. Love it!!!


  1. […] and the liquid reduces just enough to make a delicious, savory sauce. I like to serve this over farro or whole grain […]

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