Recipe: Farro risotto with basil pesto

Farro is a type of hulled wheat that is often used as an alternative to rice, quinoa, buckwheat, barley, or spelt. This recipe uses it for a unique twist on risotto.

Total time: 40 minutes. Makes 4 servings.


  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1 medium shallot, diced
  • 1 cup farro
  • 1/2 cup white wine
  • 1 quart low-sodium liquid stock
  • 1/2 cup basil pesto
  • Salt
  • 1/2 cup small tomatoes, quartered
  • 2 eggs, cooked sunny side up or poached (optional)
  • Freshly grated cheese for serving (optional)

risotto with pesto sauce


  1. Heat oil in a large pan over medium heat until surface glistens.
  2. While the pan is heating, heat stock in a separate pot until lightly simmering (not boiling). Let this stay hot.
  3. Once oil is hot, add diced shallot to oil. Cook until fragrant and clear without browning.
  4. Add farro to the pan with the shallots and stir to coat with oil. Cook for 2-3 minutes to gently toast the farro.
  5. Add white wine. Stir constantly until most of the wine has been absorbed.
  6. Add one ladle of stock to the farro. Stir constantly until the farro has absorbed the stock. Continue this method until all the stock has been absorbed and the farro is chewy. Try not to overcook.
  7. Remove from heat and stir in pesto. Add small amount of salt if needed. Top with tomatoes and fresh cracked pepper. If desired, add eggs and cheese before serving.

Nutritional Information/Amount per serving:

(includes eggs and cheese)

Calories: 461 Saturated Fat: 4.8 g
Protein: 19 g Dietary Fiber: 4.2 g
Total Fat: 21.2 g Cholesterol: 98 mg
Total Carbohydrates: 42.3 g Sodium: 520 mg

For delicious recipes, nutrition tips, and to find cooking and nutrition classes, go to the Kendall Reagan Nutrition Center website. For more health tips and recipes, follow the College of Health and Human Sciences on Pinterest.

Adapted from Elizabeth Evelyn, author of the blog “Local Milk”