Farro, Risotto Style

Source: Renee Ascher, Bubbeskitchen
adapted by http://theresalwaysthyme.blogspot.com

1 1/2 cups Farro (available at specialty Italian markets or Health Food stores)
2 cups or so mushroom broth, either pre-made or from dried mushrooms below or use the broth from the dried mushrooms and add some chicken stock or water, as needed
4 oz dry or 12 oz fresh assorted mushrooms (porcini, shiitake, cremini, white, etc) or a mix of both fresh and dried mushrooms
1 bay leaf (not California)
1 sprig thyme
1 sprig oregano
salt and freshly ground pepper
1 stalk celery, diced
1/2 medium onion, medium dice
white wine, optional
a little grated Parmesan, for serving, optional
olive oil

Rinse, pick over, and soak whole farro grains in cold water for 45 minutes to 2 hours.

If using dry mushrooms, break into small pieces and soak for about 30 minutes in 12 oz of hot water. Strain the mushrooms, being careful to save the mushroom broth. Reserve both the mushrooms and broth. If using fresh mushrooms, saute the mushrooms until tender.

Heat combination of oil and butter in large non-stick skillet, or Dutch oven on med-high heat. Add onion and celery, sauté, reducing heat so not to burn. Season well with salt and pepper. Add herbs, stir. Add the mushrooms.

Increase heat slightly, add drained farro and a bit more oil, stir until sizzling. Add a little white wine, if you like. Add stock, about 1/2 cup at a time, stir until absorbed. At this point the farro will be both tender and chewy, and can be held at room temperature for up to 1 hour. To finish, remove herbs stems and bay leaf, and return farro to low heat adding stock, if needed. Serve hot or room temperature.

Cooks notes: Farro may be rinsed then parboiled in salted water in lieu of long soaking to speed up the tenderizing and shorten cooking time.