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Quick Farro Risotto with Tomatoes and Beans

5 from 11 community reviews

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A favorite from my vegetarian recipe collection — a farro risotto recipe you’ll want to add to your list of easy dinner recipes. Made on the stovetop with cannellini beans submerged in a creamy tomato-Parmesan sauce, it’s fuss-free (no stirring necessary!) and ready to enjoy within 45 minutes.

Photo of a white skillet with farro risotto in tomato sauce with white beans and cheese on top.
Farro risotto is a delicious one-dish vegetarian main dish or side.

This tomato farro risotto is a healthful, streamlined version of traditional risotto made with Arborio rice. Farro, a whole-grain form of Italian wheat, is the star of this quick and easy risotto flavored with canned tomatoes and white beans, a simple meatless main dish the whole family will enjoy.

Along with easy-to-make farro salad and Mediterranean farro bowl recipes, this is a family favorite. Like my no-stir baked butternut squash risotto, I call this dish “cheater risotto” because the recipe breaks a few rules of authentic risotto-making. According to the guidelines of Italian cooking:

  • Risotto should always be made with short-grain Arborio rice (even a creamy green asparagus risotto).
  • It should be stirred attentively throughout the cooking process, while gradually adding liquid.

This recipe doesn’t abide by either of those classic rules. Italians (and other people) can be picky about these things, so I just wanted to put that out there!

Facts about farro

Photo of a small bowl with uncooked farro kernels.

If you’re new to it, farro is a fantastic whole grain to add to your pantry. It’s an ideal grain to cook risotto-style, otherwise known as “farrotto”.

It’s an ancient grain, a type of emmer wheat that looks a lot like short grain brown rice or barley. But farro has a lot more character, in my opinion.

The Italian grain farro is high in protein, fiber and minerals. One cup of farro has 8 grams of protein and 6 grams of fiber. When you want something a bit more nutrient dense than plain white rice, farro is there for you.

How farro tastes: I would describe the flavor of farro as deliciously earthy, with a nutty flavor. And cooked farro has a texture that’s pleasantly toothsome — not chewy at all.

Ingredients for farro risotto

Image showing pantry ingredients needed to make farro risotto, with white beans, pearled farro grains in a bowl, crushed tomatoes, shallot, garlic and Parmesan cheese.
  • Pearled or semi-pearled farro: This is the type most commonly found in supermarkets. The kernels have part of the bran removed, which makes it quicker to cook in simple farro recipes.
  • Cannellini beans: Home-cooked cannellini beans or canned beans are perfect in this recipe.
  • Shallot or yellow onion
  • Unsalted butter
  • Extra virgin olive oil
  • Crushed tomatoes: Opt for canned tomatoes that are packed in puree.
  • Parmesan cheese: Grate it on a microplane from a hunk of cheese, or buy it freshly grated.

Recipe steps

Pro shortcut: Instead of constantly stirring as in a classic method, recipes for farro risotto often boil the farro grains separately until they become tender (20-25 minutes). Note that you can cook the farro up to 3 days ahead. Add the pre-cooked grain to the simmered tomato mixture following the recipe.

  • Saute onion, garlic, crushed red chili and some thyme.
  • Add the tomatoes, cannellini beans and Parmesan cheese and simmer 10 minutes.
  • Stir in the cooked farro. Top with more cheese and serve.

Farro cooking time

  • Farro that’s pearled or semi-pearled (which is mostly what’s found in grocery stores) doesn’t take forever to cook in boiling water, only about 20 minutes on the stovetop.

Make ahead and storage tips:

  • Cook the farro and keep refrigerated up to 3 days before cooking the shallots and tomato sauce. Reserve 1 cup of the cooking water in a separate container, or just add some broth when finishing the dish.
  • Leftover risotto will keep up to 5 days. The grains will absorb the liquid, so add some water or stock to loosen it when reheating.
A soup bowl and spoon dipping into a bowl of farro risotto with tomato sauce and white beans.

What to serve with it

  • Farro risotto makes a satisfying vegetarian main dish, along with a side of simple cooked broccolini. Farro with tomato sauce is also delicious as a base for any kind of cooked chicken, shrimp or other seafood.
  • For an extra hit of veggies, add some chopped greens (kale, chard, spinach) and let them wilt into the warm risotto.

Quick Farro Risotto with Tomatoes and White Beans

Karen Tedesco
An easy, one-dish weeknight recipe the whole family will enjoy! This no-stir farro risotto combines pearled farro with with canned tomatoes, cannellini beans and plenty of Parmesan cheese.
Print Pin
5 from 11 community reviews
Prep Time 10 minutes
Cook Time 35 minutes
Total Time 45 minutes
Course Dinner
Cuisine Italian
Servings 4 servings

Equipment

Ingredients

  • 1 ¼ cups (250 g) farro
  • Salt
  • 2 tablespoons (30 ml) extra-virgin olive oil
  • 2 tablespoons (30 g) butter
  • 1 shallot or ½ of a yellow onion, finely chopped
  • 1 garlic clove, finely chopped or grated
  • 1 teaspoon fresh thyme leaves, or ½ teaspoon dried
  • ½ teaspoon crushed red chili pepper
  • 1 15-ounce (400 g) can crushed or chopped tomatoes
  • ½ cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese, plus additional for serving
  • 1 15-ounce can (425 g) cannellini beans, drained

Instructions 

  • Cook the farro in a large saucepan of boiling water seasoned with 2 teaspoons salt. Cook 20-25 minutes, or when the grains are plump with a slight resistance in the center.  Scoop out and reserve 1 cup of the cooking water before draining.
  • In a 10-12" skillet or sauté pan, add the oil and  butter over medium heat. Stir in the shallot and cook until softened (but not browned). Add the garlic, thyme and chili and cook a few seconds until the garlic smells fragrant.
  • Stir in the tomatoes, ½ teaspoon salt and ½ cup of the reserved cooking water Bring to a simmer. Cook for 10 minutes, then add the cheese and beans, stirring to incorporate.
  • Add the farro to the mixture, stirring gently. Add more of the reserved cooking water if it seems too thick – it should be a little saucy. Generously top the dish with additional cheese and serve.

Karen’s Notes and Tips

  • Cook the farro and keep refrigerated up to 3 days before cooking the shallots and tomato sauce. Reserve 1 cup of the cooking water in a separate container, or just add some broth when finishing the dish.
  • Leftover risotto will keep up to 5 days. The grains will absorb the the sauce, so add some water or stock to loosen it when reheating.
  • For an extra hit of veggies, add some chopped greens (kale, chard, spinach) and let them wilt into to the warm risotto.

Nutrition

Calories: 343kcal | Carbohydrates: 51g | Protein: 11g | Fat: 11g | Saturated Fat: 3g | Sodium: 220mg | Potassium: 229mg | Fiber: 10g | Sugar: 1g | Vitamin A: 222IU | Vitamin C: 2mg | Calcium: 182mg | Iron: 2mg

Nutrition facts are calculated by third-party software. If you have specific dietary needs, please refer to your favorite calculator.

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Hey, I’m Karen

Creator of Familystyle Food

I’m a food obsessed super-taster and professionally trained cook ALL about creating elevated dinners with everyday ingredients. Find simplified recipes made from scratch and enjoy incredibly tasty food! Read more about me here.

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11 Comments

  1. 5 stars
    Awesome recipe! I made this last night for dinner. Very good flavor and love the crushed tomatoes blended with the farro and Cannellini beans! Definitely planning to make again and again!! Thank you for sharing!

  2. Liza Finkel says:

    5 stars
    This is on my list of dishes to make over the holidays!!

  3. 5 stars
    This recipe is oh so good! I’ll be making it again.

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

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

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

  7. oh yum! i love fall recipes…..

  8. This looks so delicious! I love farro.

    best,
    Alison

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