Grains intimidate me. This may seem crazy but its true. Walking through the bulk aisle at the grocery store, staring at amaranth, farro, and millet leaves me confused. What in the world do I do with them? I consider myself an adventurous home cook and am more than willing to take on new ingredients. However, the other side of the coin is when you are talking about the star of the show, like a grain, in that case I’m less willing to step out on that limb.
Now for those of you that have pantries full of diverse grains and are laughing at my anxiety, feel free to scroll down to the recipe. For those of you who share my deer in the headlight expression in the bulk aisle, may I encourage you to try farro. This Italian staple is full of nutty flavor and has a texture that adds density to any dish. My first attempt with farro was a cold salad with chunks of mozzarella, tomato, bell pepper, cucumber, fresh parsley, with a light vinaigrette. It was delicious, filling yet not overly heavy for the hot summer. I was eager to learn more recipes and armed with Google discovered the recipe below. Adapting it for local ingredients, this recipe is incredibly versatile, simple, and can be prepped ahead of time allowing for quick dinners. With these latest recipes under my belt I think it’s time for me to conquer my fear….amaranth here I come!
Farro and White Bean Veggie Burgers:
1 can white beans
1/3 c farro
1 small onion, finely diced
1/4 t crushed red pepper
1 garlic clove, minced
2 large eggs, lightly beaten
1 c coarse bread crumbs
1/4 c chopped fresh parsley
1 t chopped fresh oregano
salt and pepper
oil for sautéing
In a small saucepan heat 1/2 T of olive oil. Add the farro and cook over moderately high heat, stirring, for 2 minutes. Add 1 1/2 cups of water and a pinch of salt and bring to a boil. Cover and simmer until the grains are al dente, 30 minutes.
In a small skillet, heat a small amount of olive oil. Add the diced onion and cook over moderate heat until softened. Add the crushed red pepper and garlic and cook for about 2 minutes.
Mash half of the beans either with a fork or in a food processor. Fold in the rest of the whole beans, the farro, the onion mixture, eggs, bread crumbs, herbs and seasonings. Mix until combined. Form the mixture into 8 patties. Cover and refrigerate for 30 minutes (or refrigerate overnight).
In a large skillet, heat a small amount of oil. Add the burgers and cook over moderate heat, turning once, until browned and heated through, about 6 minutes. Transfer to a bun and top accordingly! Enjoy!
Note: This recipe can be made with other types of beans and other herbs depending on your preference.