Farrotto with Asparagus & Sole

I'm starting to empty my fridge and my cupboards of neglected food.  It means only two things when I do that.   Either my husband did an ocular visit to our main source of nutrition or we are going on a long vacation.  I always hope it's the latter.  And so it is.  Summer has finally stepped in and we are bound again for the mountains.  I can already smell the freshness of the alpine air and I can already smell the stress I am going to go through this week in trying to use up all the fresh food and the ones close to expiring without buying anything new.  It sounds like those games they do at the television.  It's also fun because I learn to be more creative and inventive with my recipes working under pressure.

This farrotto is my first step in eradicating some fresh ingredients hiding in the vegetable bin.  Half asparagus bundle - gone.  Cherry tomatoes - will never be gone (Sigh!).  Fish - totally gone.  Farro - finally finished.  Celery - saved from the bin.  And that is one satisfying work concluded. 

Don't shy away from the term farrottoIt's just like risotto that replaces the rice with farro (emmer wheat) and follows the cooking path of risotto.  The same thing goes with orzotto which I have a recipe somewhere in this blog.  Here it is.

The translation of farro had me confused at the beginning, putting it as spelt.  I learned that it's not.  The proper English translation is emmer wheat.  So after I finalize this post, I am going back to my archives and try to repair the translation problem.  I posted two recipes last year using farro that I translated to spelt.  One is Farro Tomato Soup with Pancetta & Mussels and the other one is Farro with Pancetta and Salsiccia.  For this reason, I'm beginning to prefer to retain the Italian terms instead of translating them to English.  

To tell you about this recipe.  It's one of the best I created on my own.  I told you my inventive side goes at full throttle when I'm forced to.  Garnishing it with the pan-fried sole made it completely delicious.  I promise you, it won't let you down. 

Farrotto with Asparagus & Sole

Serves 4
  • 300 grams farro perlato (pearl emmer wheat)
  • 6 fillets of sole (Cube 4 fillets and leave the other 2 whole.) (You can also replace this with other kinds of white fish.)
  • 200 grams cherry tomatoes, quartered
  • 200 grams asparagus, thin round slices
  • 1 stalk celery, chopped finely
  • 1 medium onion, chopped finely
  • extra virgin olive oil
  • 750 ml. hot vegetable broth
  • 1 cup white wine
  • Salt 
  • Pepper
  • Parsley, chopped finely
  • Breadcrumbs for covering fish
  1. On medium heat, sautè the onion & celery in a saucepan with extra virgin olive oil. 
  2. After about 3 minutes, add the asparagus.  Toss together for 5 minutes.
  3. Add the farro and toast for about 3 minutes. 
  4. Put up the flame to medium - high and pour the wine.  Let the alcohol evaporate.  Stir occasionally to avoid burning.  Put down the flame to medium when the alcohol has already evaporated.
  5. Add the tomatoes.  Cook for a couple of minutes.
  6. Pour half of the vegetable broth.  Keep the broth warm in another saucepan with low fire.
  7. Ladle some broth once in a while and keep on stirring farro.  
  8. Cover and simmer for about 15 minutes or until farro is almost tender.
  9. Season with salt & pepper.
  10. Add the cubed sole.  Cook for another 10 minutes or until farro is tender.
  11. Meanwhile,  cover the remaining fish fillet with breadcrumbs.  Sprinkle with salt & pepper.
  12. Warm up some extra virgin olive oil in another saucepan.  When the oil is hot, brown the fish on both sides.  Set aside.
  13. When the farrotto is ready to be served, garnish each serving with the breaded fish (chopped or half fillet per serving).  Drizzle with extra virgin olive oil and sprinkle with chopped parsley.