This recipe for farro with crispy kale is all me.  I consider it to be fairly original recipe (as far as recipes go) that is quite tasty although it took a considerable amount of tweaking to get here.

Cooking, like many things, is process oriented.  Tinkering is part of the art.  Thus, it is a cardinal rule of entertaining that you do not make a dish for the first time the night of your dinner party, particularly one you made up the night of the dinner party.  I know this.  I do. But I still find myself breaking this rule periodically, like I did Saturday night.

Cooking on the fly for guests is always a crapshoot.  I’m generally fairly risk adverse, so maybe this is the one area where I take the risk because the only downsides are embarrassment and shame ???? 🙂

I felt a little of that Saturday night as I ate my first attempt at this Farro with Crispy Kale and Parmesan. The taste combinations were on track, but the crunchy al dente farro (that was admittedly a little too al dente), which I tossed with a touch of butter and crispy kale, just wasn’t doing it for me.  As a result, I broke the second cardinal rule of entertaining –  do not ever complain or allow your guests to know you think a dish has faults.  I could see Martha and Ina frowning in unison as I apologized and complained to my guests. Yes. Shame on me.

In my defense, I may have been able to keep my own personal criticism silent except that my husband had burnt the rest of the meal to a crisp.  It was not his fault.  He’s normally an excellent grill master, but our little white haired monster had decided that he could only be held by his father and needed some new kind of food or drink or toy or tv program every 45 Seconds.  The monster was not allowing for multitasking. So along with myself, my husband was thrown under the bus (sorry, sweetie).

Well, I did what any reasonable hostess that had broken two cardinal rules in one night would do (query whether such a hostess could ever be considered reasonable?).  I generously refilled everyone’s wine glasses and served dessert brought by my guests. We all agreed that at least the dessert was excellent, as was the wine.

So back to this farro. My missteps on Saturday led to tweaking on Sunday. I switched to a more risotto like preparation.  I started by sautéing garlic and shallots in a combination of olive oil and butter, adding in toasted farro after about five minutes. I then gradually added 1/2 cup portions of chicken stock (low sodium) – 2 1/2 cups total – over about 45 minutes.  Then I tossed in a little Parmesan.

Next came the crispy kale.  I did not change my preparation from Saturday night.  Basically, I removed the stems and chopped the kale roughly, then tossed it in olive oil, just a wee bit of salt and ground pepper. I spread it out on a tray and let it crisp up at 300 degrees over about 20 minutes.  I then took the kale and tossed it with the farro.  One thing to note here:  Be very gentle with the salt.  With the salt in the chicken broth, you don’t need a whole lot extra on the kale.

Just wish I would have figured out all of this before Saturday night!

Farro with Crispy Kale and Parmesan
Prep time: 
Cook time: 
Total time: 
Serves: 4
  • 1 tsp olive oil plus 2 tsp olive oil
  • ¾ cup farro
  • 1 tbsp butter
  • 1 small shallot, finely chopped
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • ¼ cup white wine
  • 2½ cups low sodium chicken broth
  • 1 bunch of kale, stems removed and finally chopped
  • olive oil
  • salt and ground pepper to taste
  • ¼ cup parmesan
  1. Toss farro with olive oil and toast at 375 degrees for 7 minutes. Reduce oven temperature to 300 degrees.
  2. Heat olive oil and butter in large pan on medium heat
  3. Add shallots and garlic and saute for 4 minutes.
  4. Add white wine and allow to reduce by about ½ of the amount, 3-4 minutes.
  5. Add farro and saute until evenly distributed.
  6. Working in ½ cup portions, add chicken stock to farro until it is gradually absorbed, stirring often. This process takes about 45 minutes.
  7. Meanwhile, toss kale with olive oil and a touch of salt and ground pepper.
  8. Roast in the oven for about 20 minutes at 300 degrees.
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