Farro with Swiss Chard, Shiitakes and Parmesan

October 25, 2017





Greetings, Readers!

We are back from our adventures in Pennsylvania and our dogs are tired, let me tell you. My husband’s fighting off some respiratory gunk (I know! Immune System Man has a sickness!) and hollering his brains out at Beaver Stadium and staying up until 2am on game night didn’t do him any favors. He will tell you it’s completely worth it though, and he’d be right about that.

Not only was it a perfect night for a football game, but it was a Penn State “white out” night, which is something to behold, especially with a record crowd in attendance. I was completely overwhelmed by the people and the spectacle and the activity, but the boys drank everything in with relish. That stadium was thrumming and humming and louder than heck. And…ahem…it didn’t hurt that the Nittany Lions beat the tar out of Michigan.

Daddy-o was grinning ear to ear watching that beat-down, which made everything that much more special. He said it was one of the best weekends of his LIFE, and when a guy can say that in his 83rd year on this planet, it must have been good fun.

Exhausting, but good fun.

We’re in the throes of unpacking and sorting/washing laundry and all of those chores, including re-stocking the pantry and refrigerator, because I cleaned it out to bare bones items before we left. It’s funny, because we weren’t away for that long, but I always feel compelled to purge the refrigerator before any trip. It’s just in my blood.

I’ll be packing that refrigerator up with lots of vegetables, because after a little hiatus, it’s back to the semi-quasi-vegetarian eating plan. We actually did okay while we were in Pennsylvania; salads were eaten, as were vegetable-laden things like ratatouille pizza. However, other things were also consumed, like beerbeerbeer and delicious seafood and artisan sausages. Hey–we were in the land of beer and pierogi. What’s a girl to do?

I’m actually looking forward to getting back to the healthier side of things, as I usually am after any vacation. Vacations are for letting go a little, but it’s also nice to get back to better habits. I sleep better and feel livelier when I don’t have a belly full of stout beer and bratwurst, that’s for sure.

One thing I’ll be turning to in the next few days is this recipe for farro with Swiss chard and shittake mushrooms, which we ate a few days before we left for our trip, and I can’t wait to make it again. This dish really does have it all. The farro makes it hearty and substantial, the parmesan cheese makes it rich and nutty, and the shiitake mushrooms make it feel special.

We ate this as a comforting main dish on a cold night, and it really did warm the soul. It would be equally good as a side dish for four people (it serves two as a main course); I think the flavors would lend itself beautifully alongside a roast chicken, if you are so inclined. I ate the leftovers for lunch the next day, topped with a poached egg, and that was genius. You can also double (or triple) the recipe and serve it to company, because it’s that yummy. I’d even say it would make a standout addition to a Thanksgiving buffet table.

Yes…I said it. Thanksgiving. It’s coming. You knew that, right? I mean, it’s true that it isn’t even Halloween yet, but as soon as those candy wrappers are in the wastebasket, blink twice and it’s Thanksgiving time.

As many of you know, I am not a fan of the traditional Thanksgiving meal. The only thing worth eating at the traditional Thanksgiving meal is a plateful of mashed potatoes and a boatload of gravy, if you ask me. Sorry, Thanksgiving lovers and purists everywhere. It’s just how I feel.

Some years I can get away with cooking something less traditional, like a roast or a seafood feast. Some years, I want to indulge my turkey-loving father and decide to suck it up and make the whole festive spread. Some years I’ve gone totally renegade and made Chinese food or paella for the holiday meal.

This year, it’s going to be…weird. Really, really weird. Daddy is spending Thanksgiving in Hawaii (as we all did last year, the first year without my mother at the table). I think it feeds his soul to be in Hawaii during Thanksgiving, at least when things are still so raw. Frankly, I think this holiday season might be just as hard as last year, if not harder. I’m happy he’s doing what he needs to do and taking care of himself that way.

We’ll be staying here, but my husband is working the entire Thanksgiving weekend this year, so we won’t see much of him. Not gonna lie: this sucks. I don’t know why he got so royally screwed this year but he’s not only working Thanksgiving, he’s working Christmas, too. Thanksgiving I could maybe handle but do not fuck with my Christmas, scheduling Gods. I mean it. I’m bitter. This had better not happen again any time soon.

I’ll deal with my Christmas disappointment when the time comes, but the Thanksgiving dilemma doesn’t faze me as much because let’s face it–I try to get out of cooking traditional Thanksgiving food anyways, and now I have a very good excuse. I’m not sure what I’ll decide to make this November. I have a few weeks to figure it out, so that’s a good thing.

Any ideas or inspiration?

Maybe I’ll just make farro with Swiss chard and shittakes and cry into it. Boo hoo.

Kidding. Sort of. Anyways, I’m glad to be home.



Farro with Swiss Chard, Shiitakes and Parmesan

serves 2 as a main course, 4 as a side dish


1/2 cup whole farro

1 1/4 cups vegetable broth

1 small onion, chopped fine

1 minced garlic clove

1/2 teaspoon minced fresh thyme

salt and pepper

1 tablespoon butter

3 ounces fresh shiitake mushrooms, sliced

8 ounces Swiss or rainbow chard, ribs removed, sliced into 1-inch pieces

a few drops of liquid smoke or liquid aminos

2/3 cup parmesan cheese

toasted pine nuts

lemon zest (optional)


Bring the farro, broth, onion, garlic, thyme and 1/4 teaspoon salt and a grind or two of pepper to a boil in a medium saucepan. Reduce the heat, cover and simmer for 15- 20 minutes or until tender. Do not drain farro; you should have a little liquid (about two tablespoons) left in the pan.

Meanwhile, heat the butter in a large skillet over medium heat. Add the mushrooms and saute until they begin to brown and release a little of their liquid, about 4 minutes. Add the chard and a few drops of liquid smoke and a little more salt and pepper. Stir and cook until chard begins to wilt and the liquid in the skillet is mostly evaporated, a couple of minutes more. Set aside.

If you have more than a 2 tablespoons of liquid in the pot with the farro in it, boil it down over high heat until reduced to about 2 tablespoons. If you don’t have any water left in the pan, add a couple of tablespoons water and bring it to a boil. Once you have about 2 tablespoons liquid in the pan, add the parmesan cheese and keep stirring until the cheese is melted and the farro is saucy. Stir in the Swiss chard/mushroom mixture. Taste for seasoning and adjust. Top with toasted pine nuts and a little lemon zest, if desired.

{ 2 comments… read them below or add one }

Lisa @ The Meaning of Me October 26, 2017 at 7:42 pm

You were in Pennsylvania??? That’s where we are! My sister and brother-in-law were at that game, too. Small world, eh?


Dana Talusani October 28, 2017 at 6:36 pm


It was a heckuva game!


Leave a Comment

Previous post:

Next post: