Farro Risotto with Sunchokes & Sage

Meals in the dark months are rooted in comfort. The fresh produce we craved in the warm weather is seemingly cast aside in favor of soul-warming, bone-thawing, gut-sticking dishes. For the cheesy-starchy fiends, old friends like mac-n-cheese and lasagna hit the table in heavy rotation. For the dixie-centric, fried chicken, creamy grits. For the trendy, ramen, which the Japanese have had in their pocket for centuries (...and I don't mean the microwavable noodle packets). For the patient, slow-braised short-ribs. 

But my ultimate is probably risotto. Dense with grains and cheese, it's the kind of dish that's both hearty, wholesome, and an inviting canvas for flavor-play. I prefer a more toothsome texture to my risotto, so instead of classic Arborio rice, I typically employ grains that can stand up to a long simmer -- see: barley, farro, etc. My flavor stance is simple and rustic -- strong herbs, earthy roots, often mushrooms for a hit of umami. Departing from my go-to trio (mushrooms, thyme and manchego), this time I turned to the underrated sunchoke. The 'chokes got a quick solo roast (which brings out their natural nuttiness), before being folded into the simmering farro with bold sage and tart pecorino tuscano. Here's til the thaw. 


1 large onion, diced

1 garlic clove, minced
1 lb sunchokes, peeled and sliced
4 cups chicken stock, plus 1 cup water
1 cup farro
1/2 cup dry white wine
1/2 cup pecorino tuscano, plus more as needed
Fresh sage
Olive oil

Heat oven to 400dgF. Peel and slice sunchokes; toss with olive oil, salt and pepper. Roast sunchokes until they begin to brown -- about 10-15 minutes. Check occasionally, they should be slightly tender, but not too soft.

Meanwhile, in a small saucepan, bring chicken stock and water to a boil, then reduce heat and keep stock warm over low.

In a large saucepan, heat 1 Tbsp olive oil over high; add onion and cook, stirring frequently until soft and translucent, about 5 minutes. Add garlic and cook an additional minute, stirring frequently. (Turn down the heat slightly if garlic begins to burn.) Add 1 cup farro, stir, and cook until grains are coated and glistening, about 1 minute. Season with salt and pepper. 

Add 1/2 cup dry white wine and cook until most of the liquid is absorbed. Add 1 cup of the warm stock and cook, stirring frequently, until liquid is absorbed. Continue adding the stock, 1/2 cup at a time, stirring after each addition. When the liquid is nearly absorbed, add 1/2 cup more. Check the farro's doneness after about 25 minutes; it should be slightly tender but retain it's bite. It may take up to 30-35 minutes -- and you may not have to use all of the stock. 

When farro is cooked, stir in the roasted sunchokes. Season again with salt and pepper and fold in 2 Tbsp (or more) freshly chopped sage, plus 1/2 cup grated pecorino tuscano (feel free to use another cheese of your choice -- parmesan and manchego are fine substitutes). Adjust measurements to preferred taste and serve immediately. 


  1. I could live on risotto and this one sounds like a perfect variation on the theme. Thanks for the inspiration!

  2. I just discovered your beautiful blog via Beth of Local Milk. Your recipes are gorgeous! I love risotto but recently have been experimenting with different grains - this will definitely go on the list :-)

  3. Gostei imenso do seu blogue. Cheio de cor e vida, e as receitas e as fotos nem se fala :) gostei mesmo muito.

    http://naminhacozinha-5.blogspot.pt/, este é o meu. Fico há espera

  4. Hi,I'd love to spend more time exploring your blog, but the fact is, I can barely read the text, because the font is so small! Would you consider changing this?

  5. Why is sunchoke so underrated? I absolutely love the versatility, deep taste and creative presentation. Wish it got more visibility. Trying this recipe tonight, looks amazing. thanks