Monday, July 29, 2013

One-Pan Farro with Tomatoes: Defying logic

I'm not really a one-pan recipe kind of girl.

It's not that I'm opposed to the principle of a dish that can be made by only dirtying a single skillet, but rather that, at one point in time, I subconsciously subscribed to the logic that the more pots and pans required to make a recipe the better it must be. It makes absolute sense, of course. And not even in my mind, which is programmed to overcomplicate even the most uncomplicated of things.

Text messages. Oatmeal. A mission to find the perfect brown skinny belt.

You know, basically everything in life.

That all said and revealed, not even a normal person would believe that Nancy Silverton would deign to make her butterscotch budino in a single saucepan. And you can bet your bottom dollar that Thomas Keller isn't brining his chicken in the same pot he's going to fry it in.

So clearly, it would follow that this "one-pan" business is for amateurs. For those who surely don't care about the taste of the final product, as long as that final product is on the plate in 30 minutes or less with a glass of something that is absolutely not the perfect pairing.

And even though I've been known to burn my kitchen floor attempting to broil salmon, I am not an amateur. I wouldn't dare cook dinner in 30 minutes or less. Even my grilled cheese takes longer than 30 minutes. And at any given moment I'm firing up all four burners on my gas stove, plus the oven, as if I'm on some sort of masochistic mission to make as much work for myself as possible.

Or, at the very least, turn my shoebox kitchen into a steam room.

So when I see a recipe exclaiming to me with all capital letters that I can do it all on one burner with one pan and nothing else, I don't leap up from my chair and propel myself toward the store to immediately procure the ingredients necessary to make it that instant.

I shudder.

I scoff.

I probably snort a bit too for good measure.

Except of course when that recipe is endorsed by someone who never takes short-cuts. Someone who makes a hot fudge sundae cake at home with not one, but two homemade ice creams, plus homemade Oreo cookie crumbs, and homemade fudge, and freshly whipped cream that is most certainly not from a can.

Then, I sit up and take notice.

Then, I run to the farmers market to purchase grape heirloom tomatoes, fresh basil, a white onion, and garlic. Then, I fire up one-pan, on one burner, with one hand. And I follow the instructions, not pausing to wonder whether I'm cheating or taking the easy way out for the purpose of retaining sanity or simply a lower gas bill.

Because I know if Deb from Smitten Kitchen declares that this is it, a "rare dream of a dish," then it must be the exception to the rule. That it must defy all logic.

And that it must be the recipe I'll be making for the rest of the summer.

With a side dish that requires at least three pans to make.

One-Pan Farro with Tomatoes

Adapted from Smitten Kitchen
Serves 3-4

Notes: It goes without saying that this recipe is perfect just as Deb dictates on Smitten Kitchen, but I've made a few slight adaptations over the course of the multiple times I've eaten it in the past two weeks (five to be exact). I added chickpeas, because I'm on a bit of a chick-spree (fo' life), used an extra garlic clove, and opted to cook the farro in chicken broth rather than water. Finally, I finished it with a splash of balsamic vinegar a la a caprese salad. Made this way I've had plenty to last me three solid meals, though I can see this stretching further if served as a side. Or to, you know, people with more modest appetites. 

2 cups chicken broth
1 cup semi-pearled farro
1/2 large yellow or white onion
3 clove of garlic
9 ounces grape tomatoes (or cherry tomatoes)
Pinch of salt
Up to 1/4 teaspoon red pepper flakes (or to taste - I used a little more than 1/8 teaspoon)
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 16-ounce can of chickpeas, drained and rinsed well
1 teaspoon balsamic vinegar
A hearty handful of basil leaves, stacked and sliced into thin ribbons
Grated parmesan cheese, for serving (around 1/4 cup)

Rinse farro in a colander. Pour chicken broth into a medium saucepan and add the farro, submerging completely in the liquid. Let soak for 10 minutes while you prep the other ingredients - slicing the onion and peeled garlic cloves into paper thin slices, and halving or quartering the tomatoes. After each ingredient is ready, go ahead and toss it into the pan with the farro. Accomplishment feels great, don't it?  Finish with the olive oil, a pinch of salt, and your desired amount of red pepper flakes.

Bring the uncovered pan to a boil, then reduce to a simmer and let cook, stirring every so often to make sure everything is melding together and the farro is cooking evenly, for approximately 30-35 minutes. Just before the farro is done (to the point where it is tender, but still has that satisfying chew), add the can of chickpeas. Heat through for the last couple minutes. Turn off the heat, and stir in the balsamic vinegar.

Serve immediately, topped with the grated parmesan and basil.


Gastronomer said...

Chickpea spree! I love your prose, D. Always a pleasure to read.

Diana said...

CC - Thanks, friend! And thank you for always reading my prose - even the odd bits way at the bottom of the post. That's commitment!!