It might have a tounge-twister of a title, but this is just the sort of juicy comfort-food supper with a crispy crust that is perfect for these freezing cold January (Veganuary!) evenings.
If you're not familiar with Farro, you should be! It's a grain similar to pearl barley, but dried to become chewy and nutty when cooked, (rather than the more fluffy and spongy barley). The ancient Romans ate a lot of it, in the form of bread, porridge and soup before they got hold of wheat. These days it is awfully trendy, and used in salads, soups, stews, and pasta dishes.
It is available in most supermarkets, but if you can't find any, pearl barley, risotto rice or even giant cous cous would also work really well here - the finished dish will have quite a different texture, but still be delicious!
The farro swells considerably when it cooks, soaking up the flavours of whatever liquid you cook it in. I often cook this with veggie parmesan stirred through for that deep savoury flavour, but as it's Veganuary I've used dried mushrooms and their soaking liquor for the same effect. And it works so well - these plump little grains really are swollen with mushroomy loveliness.
This is one of those "chuck it all in the pan then bung it in the oven" sort of recipes, you can go and put your feet up for the majority of the 45 minute cooking time, whilst the kitchen gradually fills with tantalising smells.
10 minutes before cooking time is up, you remove the lid and scatter over a seedy breadcrumb crust tossed in olive oil, which crisps up and turns golden brown.
Purple Sprouting Broccoli Farro Risotto Bake
- 15 g dried mushrooms (dried mixed mushrooms, portobello or porcini will all work well)
- 2 tablespoon rapeseed or olive oil
- 1 onion, peeled and finely sliced
- 1 leek, trimmed and finely sliced
- 2 garlic cloves, peeled and crushed
- 200 g purple sprouting broccoli
- 250 g farro
- 750 ml vegetable stock
- 40 g breadcrumbs
- 30 g mixed seeds (I used pumpkin, sunflower & linseed)
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
- Pour boiling water over the dried mushrooms until just covered, then leave aside to soak. Preheat the oven to 200C/400F/Gas Mark 6.
- In a large ovenproof casserole dish, heat the oil and gently cook the onion, leek and garlic for 3-4 minutes until soft. Whilst this is cooking, trim the ends from the broccoli, and slice the stalks diagonally into 2-3cm chunks.
- Remove the mushrooms from their soaking liquid, (don't tip it away!), chop them finely and add to the pan. Add the broccoli and farro and stir well to combine. Tip the mushroom soaking liquid into the pan, followed by the stock, and bring to the boil. Taste the broth, and season with salt and pepper as required.
- As soon as it has boiled, place the lid on your casserole dish, (or cover with foil if it doesn't have a lid), and place in the oven with a timer set for 25 minutes.
- In a bowl, toss together the breadcrumbs, seeds and olive oil. After 25 minutes, remove the lid (or foil) from the casserole dish, stir the farro then level off the top and scatter over the breadcrumb crust. Return to the oven for 10 minutes until the crust is golden brown and crispy.
Don't forget to follow my progress through Veganuary via my Instagram feed!
For more 'risottos' without the rice, take a look at: