Roasted Mixed Mushroom and Garlic Farrotto

updated Sep 11, 2020
Mediterranean Monday
Roasted Mixed Mushroom and Garlic Farrotto

Swap farro in for rice when making risotto and you have something deliciously hearty and flavor-packed.


Prep10 minutes to 15 minutes

Cook1 hour 5 minutes to 1 hour 10 minutes

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Credit: Photo: Kristin Teig; Food & Prop Styling: Catrine Kelty

If you’re someone who looks at the amount of garlic called for in a recipe and adds at least an extra clove’s worth (guilty!), this bold, one-pot dinner has your name written all over it. It’s a wholesome, feel-good twist on risotto, in which whole-grain farro takes the place of traditional rice. And thanks to earthy roasted mushrooms and an entire head of roasted garlic, each creamy, cheesy bite is savory and satisfying. It’s the gentle nudge you need to officially transition into fall and embrace all the cozy sweater weather that comes with it.

Whole Grains: The Third Key Building Block in the Mediterranean Diet

I’ve been introducing you to the elemental ingredients of the Mediterranean diet, like fish and vegetables, over the past few months. Today, it’s time to talk about whole grains. All grains contain three edible parts: the bran, the germ, and the endosperm, and each part has nutritional benefits. While whole grains haven’t been processed and contain all three, some grains, like white rice, are refined after harvesting, which means the brain and the germ are removed. Both of these lend nutty flavor, color, and texture to grains, along with fiber, protein, vitamins, and minerals — so removing them results in grains that are not only paler in color and milder in flavor, but they’re also actually stripped of a lot of their nutrients.

While there’s a time and a place for refined grains like white rice, pasta, and flour, the Mediterranean diet encourages you to embrace whole grains as often as you can. Farro, brown rice, rolled or steel-cut oats, spelt, hulled barley, quinoa, bulgur wheat, and whole wheat are all whole grains to try. Each of them contain the bran, the germ, and the endosperm, meaning they’re full of nutritious things like iron, magnesium, B vitamins, and fiber, all of which support your overall heath!

If you abstain from gluten, it’s important to note that some whole grains contain gluten, while others, such as gluten-free oats, rice, and quinoa, do not. It’s farro I want to celebrate here, though. While it’s not gluten-free, it’s considered an ancient, heirloom grain because it’s been minimally adapted over the years; some people with mild gluten sensitivity can tolerate it. I love it because it’s oh-so-nutty with a lovely al dente texture, which is why I am sharing one of my favorite ways to enjoy it.

Credit: Photo: Kristin Teig; Food & Prop Styling: Catrine Kelty

A Nutty, Whole-Grain Twist on Risotto

Risotto has long been one of my favorite creamy comfort foods. While I love it made traditionally with rice, applying the same technique with other grains makes for a fun twist. Farro is particularly well-suited to receiving the risotto treatment. You’ll need to par-cook it first because it takes longer to cook than short-grain rice, but that’s hardly a problem because it gives you time to roast a head of garlic and sheet pan full of mushrooms.

Once the farro is par-cooked, you’ll sauté it with aromatics and add ladlefuls of broth, simmering and stirring for 10 minutes, until it releases some of its starch and becomes creamy. Then you’ll mash the soft, caramelized garlic into a rough paste and stir it into the farro to perfume every grain with rich, savory flavor. Add the earthy mushrooms and plenty of grated Parmesan, and you’ve got a wholesome dinner that’s deeply comforting.

Welcome to Mediterranean MondaySheela Prakash‘s new monthly column of Mediterranean recipes. Here, Sheela will teach you all about the Mediterranean diet’s feel-good way of cooking and eating, and share vibrant, easygoing recipes. Cook with us using #mediterraneanmonday, and for even more great recipes, order a copy of Sheela’s cookbook Mediterranean Every Day.

Roasted Mixed Mushroom and Garlic Farrotto

Swap farro in for rice when making risotto and you have something deliciously hearty and flavor-packed.

Prep time 10 minutes to 15 minutes

Cook time 1 hour 5 minutes to 1 hour 10 minutes

Serves 4

Nutritional Info


  • 1

    medium head garlic

  • 1 pound

    fresh mixed mushrooms, such as cremini, shiitake, and/or oyster

  • 3 tablespoons

    plus 1 teaspoon olive oil, divided

  • 2 cups

    semi-pearled or pearled farro

  • 1 teaspoon

    kosher salt, divided, plus more for seasoning

  • 1/2 teaspoon

    freshly ground black pepper, divided

  • 4 cups

    (32 ounces) low-sodium chicken or vegetable broth

  • 1

    medium shallot

  • 2 tablespoons

    fresh thyme leaves, divided

  • 2 ounces

    Pecorino Romano cheese (about 1 packed cup grated), divided

  • 1/2 cup

    dry white wine

  • 1 tablespoon

    unsalted butter


  1. Arrange 2 racks to divide the oven into thirds and heat the oven to 400ºF.

  2. Peel off and discard the excess papery skins from 1 medium head garlic, then slice a thin layer off the top to expose the cloves. Place on a piece of aluminum foil. Drizzle with 1 teaspoon of the olive oil and sprinkle with a pinch of kosher salt. Wrap the garlic completely in the foil. Roast on the upper rack of the oven for 25 minutes. Meanwhile, remove and trim the stems from 1 pound mushrooms if needed. If not already sliced, tear the caps into bite-sized pieces and place on a rimmed baking sheet.

  3. Drizzle the mushrooms with 2 tablespoons of the olive oil, and sprinkle with 1/2 teaspoon of the kosher salt and 1/4 teaspoon of the black pepper. Toss to coat, then spread out in an even layer. Transfer to the lower rack of the oven. Roast until the mushrooms and garlic are tender and caramelized, tossing the mushrooms halfway through, 15 to 20 minutes total.

  4. While the mushrooms are roasting, bring a large pot of salted water to a boil. Rinse and drain 2 cups farro. Add the farro to boiling water and cook until tender but still firm to the bite (it should not be fully cooked at this stage), 15 to 20 minutes. Meanwhile, place 4 cups broth in a small saucepan and bring to a simmer over medium heat. Reduce the heat and maintain a bare simmer. Mince 1 medium shallot and coarsely chop 2 tablespoons fresh thyme leaves. Finely grate 2 ounces Pecorino Romano cheese (about 1 packed cup); set aside.

  5. Once the mushrooms and garlic are roasted, remove from the oven and set aside until the garlic is cool enough to handle, about 5 minutes. Squeeze the cloves out of their skins into a small bowl. Mash with a fork until you have a mostly smooth purée (a few lumps are okay).

  6. Drain the farro. Return the now-empty pot to medium heat and add the remaining 1 tablespoon olive oil. Add the shallot and half of the thyme and sauté until the shallot is softened and translucent, 2 to 3 minutes. Add the farro, remaining 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt, and remaining 1/4 teaspoon black pepper. Cook, stirring often, until the grains smell lightly toasted, about 1 minute.

  7. Add 1/2 cup dry white wine and simmer, stirring constantly and scraping up any browned bits from the bottom of the pan with a wooden spoon, until the wine has evaporated and the pot is almost dry, about 1 minute. Incrementally add the broth about 1/2 cup at a time. Simmer, stirring constantly, and wait until the liquid has been almost completely absorbed before adding the next ladle. Continue adding the broth until the farro is al dente and the broth is creamy, 8 to 10 minutes total (you likely will not use up all the broth).

  8. Remove the pan from the heat. Add the roasted mushrooms, garlic purée, 1 tablespoon unsalted butter, and half of the grated cheese. Serve immediately, with the remaining grated cheese and thyme sprinkled on top of each bowl.

Recipe Notes

Storage: Leftovers can be stored in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 4 days.