Have you tried farro? It’s the hottest thing since mashed potatoes.
The new alternative to rice and spuds is finding its way onto menus all over town, as detailed in a recent article in the Chicago Sun-Times.
“Farro” is the Italian word for an ancestor of wheat. This ancient grain, also known as “emmer” (Triticum dicoccum), has a nutty mild flavor and a pleasantly chewy texture.
Local chefs using farro include:
Chef Laura Piper of Trattoria No. 10 in the Loop. She uses farro in salads, topping it with shrimp or mixing in peaches and figs.
Chef Paul Fehribach of Big Jones in Andersonville. He likens the texture of whole-grain farro to caviar: “It’s firm and then it pops and then it’s creamy.”
Chef Serena Perdue of Niche in Geneva. She says farro’s earthiness makes it hold up well against strong flavors, such as blue cheese.
Chef Tony Priolo of Piccolo Sogno in West Town. He makes risotto, pasta and beer with it.