Fava Bean and Mushroom Farrotto

Farrotto with Fava Beans and Mushrooms

Formaggio is a dangerous place to shop without a list. I went on Friday looking for dinner ingredients, not knowing what I wanted to make yet. Matt and I were having a date night in and I wanted to make something fun and springy.

Fava Beans

I started by grabbing some fava beans. I had never encountered favas until I staged at Bondir a couple of years ago and was given a huge pile of them to shell one day. It seemed as easy as shelling peas at first…until I realized each individual bean has another shell around it that has to be peeled.

Fava Beans

While they’re frustrating to get the hang of, I’ve grown to weirdly enjoy the task. I put on some tunes, pour myself a glass of wine, and give myself plenty of time to leisurely peel. I think their distinct flavor is so worth the time.


I also picked up some farro – one of my favorite grains to cook with – to go with the favas. Farro sort of looks like brown rice, and I think has a texture somewhere between rice and wheatberries. I also love that its a forgiving grain; it retrains its texture well and is difficult to overcook.

And because I always buy too much at Formaggio’s, I also bought some shiitake and maitake (or hen of the woods) mushrooms. I definitely had the makings of a great dinner.

Farrotto with Fava Beans and Mushrooms

What I wound up with was a fava bean and mushroom farrotto. Farrotto, which is farro cooked using the same method as risotto, is something Matt and I have made before. I made this version a little extra special by pureeing half of the fava beans to stir into the final dish. I reserved the delicate maitakes to place on top at the end along with some Parmesan shavings.

Matt and I love making cooking an event when we stay in, so this was the perfect dish for our Friday night. And I may have spent too much money on these amazing vegetables at Formaggio, but it was still cheaper than going out!

Farrotto with Fava Beans and Mushrooms

Yield: 2 large servings, or 4 side dish servings

Farrotto with Fava Beans and Mushrooms

Using fava shelling method from localfoods.about.com


  • 2 pounds fava beans
  • For the Fava Puree:
  • 3/4 cup of the shelled favas
  • 3 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 teaspoon fresh lemon juice
  • 4 tablespoons vegetable stock
  • Salt, to taste
  • For the Farrotto:
  • 4-5 cups vegetable stock
  • 3 tablespoons olive oil
  • 2 shallots, minced (about 1/2 cup)
  • Salt, to taste
  • 1 cup farro
  • 1/2 cup dry white wine
  • 5 ounces shiitake mushrooms, sliced
  • 2 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • 3/4 cup of the shelled favas
  • Freshly grated Parmesan, plus shavings for on top
  • Pepper, to taste
  • 5 ounces maitake mushrooms, cut into large pieces


  • Bring a large pot of heavily salted water to a boil. Meanwhile, take the fava beans out of the pods. Cook the fava beans in the boiling water for exactly one minute. Transfer with a slotted spoon to a large bowl with ice water. Let them sit for five minutes, or until completely cooled.
  • Remove the second shell around the fava beans by pinching the tip of the bean with your fingernail and popping out the bean. (There is great visual guide here.) Set aside half of the blanched favas for later.
  • Place all of the fava puree ingredients in a blender. Blend until smooth. Set aside.
  • Bring the vegetable stock to a simmer in a pot and keep warm. Meanwhile, heat 1 tablespoon of the olive oil in a large nonstick skillet over medium-high heat. Add the shallot with a pinch of salt and cook for a couple of minutes until translucent. Add the farro and cook for a couple of minutes, stirring to coat with the olive oil. Add the white wine and cook until absorbed, stirring continuously. Add a half cup of the stock and stir until absorbed. Keep adding the stock a half cup at a time, stirring very often.
  • Meanwhile, heat 1 tablespoon of the olive oil in a large skillet over medium heat. Cook the shiitakes for 3-4 minutes, or until lightly browned. Season with a pinch of salt and set aside.
  • Start testing the farro for doneness after about 20 minutes. When it’s just about done but still has a little bite, add in the cooked shiitakes. When it’s done, it will be mostly tender but still with a little chew. At that point, add in the rest of the fava beans, a tablespoon of the butter, freshly grated Parmesan, and pepper. Turn off the heat and set aside for a few minutes.
  • While the farrotto is resting off the heat, heat a tablespoon of the olive oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Cook the maitakes for a couple of minutes until lightly browned. Add in a tablespoon of the butter and stir to coat the mushrooms.
  • Stir in a little bit of the fava puree into the farrotto (you might not need to use all of it). Top with the cooked maitakes and Parmesan shavings.


The amount of stock required will vary depending on your farro, I would keep at least five cups warm while cooking the farrotto and taste along the way for doneness.


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