Saturday, April 6, 2013

farro crostata {savory&vegetarian}

as spring arrives
so does my realization
that i have been tucking into
 thick suppers of  roasts and shanks
for months

with the promise of long days
evenings of light
my desires change
i begin to crave
hearty vegetarian suppers

when i was offered the opportunity 
to try
i jumped at the chance

i enjoy the meaty texture and nutty flavor of farro
using it mostly in soups and summer salads
for this recipe
i took inspiration from a classic (and favorite)
italian easter pie

substituting savory elements
for sugar and fruits
this farro pie 
lovely as a simple supper
by itself
paired with a leafy salad
as a sliver of a starter for a seasonal tasting menu
   farro crostata
1/2 cup onion--thinly sliced
1/4 cup onion--finely chopped
1 clove garlic--finely chopped
1/2 tsp fresh or 1/4 tsp dried thyme
1/2 cup organic farro alle verdure by Tuscan Fields -cooked
1/2 cup ricotta cheese
2 extra large eggs
1/2 cup grated parmesan (+more for topping)
generous pinch kosher salt
1/4 tsp freshly ground black pepper
1/4 cup cream
1/8 tsp freshly grated nutmeg
olive oil
1 sheet puff pastry

pour enough olive oil in the bottom of a skillet to just cover the bottom. toss in thinly sliced onions and over low heat, slowly caramelize. if you find that they are starting to cook to quickly, add a couple of splashed of hot water to slow down the cooking.  once fully caramelized (about 20 minutes), remove from pan and reserve. 
meanwhile, whisk together the farro, ricotta, eggs, parmesan, salt pepper, and nutmeg in a large bowl.   using the same skillet in which you caramelized the onions, without washing, add a tiny bit of olive oil (1 tsp) and over low heat, saute the chopped onion, garlic and thyme just until the onion becomes translucent--keep from browning.  pour in the cream, use a spoon to scrape up the bits from the bottom of the pan.  allow the cream to come to a simmer, then slowly stir into the farro and ricotta mixture.
place your puff pastry on a cookie sheet or in a pie tin.  it is not necessary to shape it into a circle, if it is square.  gently spoon the farro mixture into the center of the pastry, allowing it to naturally move towards the edges.  allow for at least 2" from the mixture to the edge of the pastry. scatter the caramelized onions on top and sprinkle with additional parmesan cheese.  fold the pastry ends towards the center, overlapping itself and the farro mixture as necessary to keep the contents within the confines of the pastry.  alternatively, you can line a pastry tin with puff pastry and simply fill with the farro custard.
bake in a preheated 350F oven for 30-40 minutes.   after 25 minutes keep a watchful eye that the custard is not "souffleing"--you do not want to over cook this, as it will dry it out and it will taste a bit eggy.  this crostata is meant to be creamy.  serve warm or room temperature.

*i received several samples of Farro from Tuscan Fields, free of charge, to utilize in recipe experimentation.  in exchange i am entered in a drawing to win a scholarship to Eat Write Retreat


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