I love jasmine rice, and it has always been a staple in my pantry. Besides the fragrant, soft texture, it cooks very quickly – in 15 minutes. It became my go-to starch when preparing dinner. But it has absolutely no nutritional value. No vitamins, trace amounts of minerals, and barely any fiber. It does have plenty of carbohydrates, but the nutritional benefit of that is questionable.
Brown rice would have been an easy switch if it weren’t for the fact that it takes 45 (!!!) minutes to cook. Instead, I started mixing the jasmine rice with other quick-cooking grains to bulk up its nutritional value. My favorite is blending quinoa with the rice, cooking it all together in a single pot. I still get all the flavor of the rice with the nutty nuances of the quinoa. And it still cooks in 15 minutes.
A few weeks ago, I started experimenting with farro, a variety of wheat that has a firm, chewy texture. I wanted to make beef-barley soup. But if you can believe it, not a grain of barley was to be found in the market. I purchased farro instead.
I cooked it separately, as I didn’t know how it would behave in the soup, and I couldn’t seem to find directions on the package that would tell me the cooking time, nor the amount of liquid needed. When it was tender, 20 minutes and 2 parts water later, I added it to my brothy soup. Within 30 minutes, the farro had absorbed all the liquid and instead I had a creamy stew.
I still had a few cups of farro left when I planned a meal of osso buco. This time, I was prepared for how it would behave and cooked it in the style of risotto… farrotto! I cooked the farrotto exactly as I would traditional risotto.
The grains were chewy and toothsome, surrounded by a creamy broth of cheese and chicken stock. And unlike Arborio rice, it has a healthy dose of protein and fiber.