From the moment I met Lorna Sass, I felt as if I was visiting with an old friend. Lorna’s pressure-cooker books are seminal, and I’d always been interested in what she wrote. As her recipe shows, risotto is one of the dishes that the pressure cooker does best. The cooker pulls the starch out of the grain in record time, so you need only stir for a few moments to finish off the dish rather than stand at the stove during the entire cooking time.
Farro, a type of emmer wheat, is an ancient cousin of the wheat commonly grown in this country. The starch in farro creates a wonderfully creamy risotto. Italian farro is sold in most gourmet shops and is readily available by mail order. For this dish, you’ll need semipearled farro, labeled farro perlato. If you don’t have farro on hand, see the variation that uses rice, below.
|½||tsp. saffron threads|
|1||Tbsp. warm water|
|1||Tbsp. plus 1 teaspoon extra-virgin olive oil|
|½||medium yellow onion, chopped|
|1¼||cups semipearled farro|
|⅓||cup dry white wine, vermouth, or sherry|
|3 to 3½||cups chicken or vegetable broth|
|1½||cups cooked and drained scarlet runner beans|
|⅓||cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese, plus more for garnishing|
|½||cup coarsely chopped toasted walnuts|
|1||tsp. minced fresh lemon thyme or rosemary|
|~||Salt and freshly ground pepper|
Substitute 1 1/2 cups Arborio or Carnaroli rice for the farro. Increase the broth to 3 1/2 to 4 cups. Decrease the cooking time under pressure to 4 minutes.
You can use marrow beans if you like, but the color of the scarlet runners against the saffron is fabulous.
This content is from the book Heirloom Beans by Vanessa Barrington and Steve Sando.
An American native
A father’s legacy
The vegetarian-cooking pioneer
Cracking a Filipino favorite