One Pan Farro “Risotto” with Tomatoes

November 7, 2017


Although Autumn is my favorite season by far, I’m always a little relieved to wave October goodbye. Three family members have October birthdays, and then there’s all of the hubbub and excitement (and mess!) of Halloween, and by month’s end, I’m shot.

Those of you who follow me on Facebook already know that Miss D. went her usual full-throttle-creative-dynamo speed when it came to her Halloween costume, and while the results were impressive, so was the mess in her room.


      ~And yeah, I let her cut up my 200$ bomber jacket from the 80’s to make this. So long, jacket of my youth!


Two weeks prior to Halloween, I told her to just close the door to her bedroom every morning, because I wasn’t even going to LOOK in there.

Y’all, that was the smartest decision I ever made. I had two weeks of relative peace before having to face the horrendous scum-pile that was her room. Lordy, that child is a wrecking ball. And there’s zero “clean-as-you-go” mentality when she’s working on her epic creations, so when it’s finally time to unveil the masterpiece (and face the music) her room is virtually unrecognizable.

We managed, but I almost fainted when I first saw what she’d done in there. Hoo-boy. I needed a stiff drink after helping her clean up that disaster.

Add in a trip to Happy Valley for the Penn State game and two different foster kitties, and you’ve got one burned out Kitch.


         -This is our current foster kitten, George. Some critter messed up his head, so he is in Cone Hades right now. Poor George!


It’s been real, October, but later. Not sad to see you go.

November brings some different challenges. My husband’s work schedule is hor-rendous this month (and his holiday shindig/party circuit begins and won’t stop until Christmas)…which means a lot of single-momming it. And single-mealing it.

If I look on the bright side, I can tell myself that all of these solo evenings will make my life simpler. The girls are easy to please (if easy to please means pizza or pasta) and getting them fed is relatively simple.


When my husband isn’t going to be home for dinner, I have a hard time making healthy choices for myself. I turn into a lazy pile of inertia and ennui. I eat cereal for dinner, or crackers and crack cheese, or a big bowl of buttered rice. Quick and easy? Sure. Nutritious and wholesome? Not so much.

I really need to have more self-respect when it comes to feeding myself. I’m going to try.

I envision big pots of black bean chili and veggie-packed soups that I can eat off for several days. Brown rice and broccoli stir-frys. Spinach and tomato omelets.

I can do this, right?


We shall see.

One thing I’m going to promise myself to make again is this farro dish, which I’m calling a “risotto,” because while it’s not the traditional Arborio rice risotto, its texture is similar–creamy and rich and comforting.

And it’s better for you, because it uses fiber-rich farro.

And it’s easier, because you don’t have to constantly stir it and babysit it like you do the rice variety.

And it’s yummy and vegetarian.

How about that?

The recipe is a riff on one I’d seen from the blog Smitten Kitchen, which I’m sure you’ve heard of because Deb is uber famous and funny and her photography skills are incredible. Please do not compare any of my skills to hers, mmkay?

She raved about her one-pan farro with tomatoes, and I’m sure it’s good, but it sounded kind of bare bones and super-healthy and, dare I say, austere? I felt the need to fatten it up, frankly. I felt it needed an added textural note, so I included tomatoes two ways–cooked in the dish and then also stirred in at the end of cooking, for a pop of freshness. I also added some luscious, gooey, delicious cheese because hey, we’re already being virtuous with the farro and the vegetarian side of the deal, so let’s have a little fun, shall we?

Cheese makes everything mo’ betta’ in my opinion. I chose smoked mozzarella for a little sexy hint of smoke and Parmiggiano-Reggiano for that sharp hit of flavor. It’s a winning combination. Cheese is the best, man.

Plus, nights are getting cold and dark, and cold + dark = need for cheese. I’m sure it’s written down somewhere.

Cold, dark, [self pitying] lonely November nights will be made just a little brighter if you cook yourself a pot of this. Cuddle up with a warm blanket, the t.v. remote, a white fluffy dog, and a couple of rogue foster cats, and you’ve got a cozy scene.

If your loved one is home and across the table from you, more’s the better, and if you’re of a mind, it would be stupendous alongside a nice roast chicken. However you serve it up is up for you to decide but do serve it up, because it’s yummy.

Now…who hid the crack cheese?



One Pan Farro “Risotto” with Tomatoes

serves 4 as a side, 2 as a main

adapted from Smitten Kitchen



2 cups low-sodium vegetable stock (or chicken stock, if that’s what you have and you’re not a stickler)

1 cup farro

1/2 large sweet onion, diced

2 garlic cloves, thinly sliced

12 ounces grape or cherry tomatoes, divided (I used multi-colored ones for fun)

1 teaspoon kosher salt

1/4 teaspoon pepper

1/4 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes or to taste (use less if you are sensitive to heat)

1 tablespoon olive oil, plus more for drizzling

1/3 cup chopped flat-leaf parsley or 1/4 cup sliced fresh basil leaves

2 ounces smoked mozzarella cheese, diced

2 ounces freshly grated parmesan cheese


Place vegetable broth and farro in a medium saucepan and soak for about 5 minutes while you prepare other ingredients. Add the onion, garlic, about half of the tomatoes, salt, pepper, red pepper flakes and olive oil to the pan. Bring the pan to a boil, reduce heat to a simmer, cover and cook for 15 minutes or until farro is chewy but tender. There should be about a tablespoon or two of liquid left in the pot at this point; if not, add a tablespoon or two of water to the pan. Keep pan uncovered and crank up the heat to medium-hi. Stir the farro vigorously, allowing the farro to release starch and allow the liquid to become reduced and creamy, about 5 minutes.

Remove farro from heat, stir in the other half of the tomatoes, the parsley or basil, the smoked mozzarella and the parmesan. Drizzle with a glug of olive oil and serve immediately in warmed bowls.

{ 4 comments… read them below or add one }

Lisa November 8, 2017 at 4:30 pm

I would eat that right now for dinner if I hadn’t just eaten quinoa, black bean, sweet potato skillet. Filing this for tomorrow. Perfect.


Dana Talusani November 8, 2017 at 5:26 pm

That sounds incredibly healthy! Good for you!


Arnebya November 12, 2017 at 10:30 am

Farro. Never heard of it. But there was a bag in the store today so I got it. I hope it doesn’t go the way of the pelt.


Liz Aguerre November 12, 2017 at 3:50 pm

Damn. That looks so good and easy I think I can actually make it. And want to.


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