Yet another successful trip to Costco. I have always been impressed by the quality as well as the prices at Costco. Lately, however, they have been winning me over further on the basis of their creativity in groceries. The newest example is the 3 lb. package of Farro I bought on my last visit.
Have you ever heard of Farro? If so, you are one up on Mr. Lazy Cook. I hadn’t heard of it, but it was a whole grain and I thought I would try it. Glad I did.
According to Wikipedia, farro is a food product consisting of the grains of certain wheat species in whole form. It is sold dried and prepared by cooking in water until soft, but still crunchy. You can use it in salads as well as soups, pretty much any place you would use brown rice. You can also substitute it for the rice in risotto. Personally, I think of it as amped brown rice. More on that later.
Farro, called the mother of all grains, has an illustrious history, according to About.com. It fed the Mediterranean and Near Eastern populations for thousands of years. It was the standard ration of the Roman Legions that expanded through the Western World.
It would probably still be an extremely local specialty if the farmers of the French Haute Savoie not started supplying it to elegant restaurants that used it in hearty vegetable soups and other dishes. As a result the dish is enjoying renewed interest in Italy as well, especially among trendy health-conscious cooks.
Mr. Lazy Cook fixed up a batch of farro using beef bouillon cubes in the boiling water. It took about as long as brown rice to cook up.
In terms of nutrition, 1/2 cup of Farro cooked yields: 100 calories, 1 gram of fat no cholesterol or sodium, 26 grams of carbohydrates, 3.5 grams of fiber and 4 grams of protein.
The same amount of brown rice yields 107.5 calories, 0.9 grams of fat, no cholesterol but 587 mg of sodium, 22.2 grams of carbohydrate, 1.75 grams of fiber and 2.5 grams of protein.
Except for the large amount of sodium in brown rice, they are similar, but Farro yields about double the fiber and protein of brown rice.
Farro substitutes perfectly into Mr. Lazy Cook’s Black and Tan Rice dish.