Mushroom, Bacon & White Bean Stew with Farro

Last night, Paige, who’s visiting from L.A., came over for dinner. Remember Paige? You’ve seen her here before.

You’ve also seen me rave about her gel manicures here before.

But this post is not about Paige or gel manicures, wonderful though those things are. This post is about dinner. Dinner was so good.

I only had about half an hour and one hand (the other was occupied with a bouncy chair) to get everything ready; fortunately, that’s exactly how long this meal takes to make, and it is simple stuff. One-handed simple, even. And just FYI, the individual components (farro and stew) can easily be prepared in advance, as they reheat pretty nicely.

First, I prepped a quick side dish of roasted asparagus.


1. Cut tough ends off of asparagus spears (if you bend one stalk and let it snap naturally, that’s the spot where you’re going to want to cut all the stalks).

2. Place in a single layer on a foiled baking sheet. Drizzle with olive oil, and sprinkle with sea salt and fresh-cracked pepper.

3. Roast at 400F for about five minutes. (I like my vegetables pretty straightforward, but you can fancy this up in lots of different ways: sprinkle it with parmigiana, add balsamic vinegar, lemon, or sliced garlic cloves…whatever you like, really.)

And next, the star of the evening: the stew. You really have to try this. It’s hearty and delicious, but feels so clean and healthy.


What you need:

1 package farro (about 2 cups)

6 slices bacon, cut into matchsticks

1 medium yellow onion, diced

2-3 cups mixed mushrooms, sliced

3 garlic cloves, minced

1 15 oz can diced tomatoes

1 can cannellini beans, drained

1 handful fresh parsley, chopped

What you do: 

1. Place your farro in a heavy-bottomed saucepan and cover with cold water. Add a generous pinch of salt and bring to a boil. Turn down heat, cover and simmer for twenty minutes. You may need to check on the farro and add a little more water from time to time.

2. Meanwhile, add your bacon matchsticks to a frying pan and fry until fat has rendered out slightly (that’s what you’re going to cook the vegetables in; if you prefer not to use bacon, just heat some olive oil in the pan).

3. Add onions, mushrooms and garlic to bacon and cook until tender.

4. Add tomatoes and beans to pan; cook until heated through, adding salt and pepper to taste.

5. When farro is done, drain out any remaining water (there shouldn’t be much, if any at all) and toss in the chopped parsley (and maybe a splash of lemon juice).

6. Serve by scooping the stew over top of the farro and adding a little extra sprig of parsley to the top as garnish.

Note: This dish is low in gluten (but not entirely gluten-free). It can also be served over couscous, and can be made vegan with the exclusion of the bacon.

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