Farro and Lentil Casserole

Dear Caitlin,

The Farro Fairy visited me!!  Oh. My. Goodness.  I was so happy when your package arrived.  I removed two absolutely adorable boxes of truffles (which were delicious) (and adorable) and then some fifteen pounds of farro fell out, too (also adorable).  Thank you so very, very much.

Did I mention that my Christmas stocking was filled with barley and bulgur this year?  So the bulk grains section of my pantry is feeling pretty good.

So I went in search of ways to use farro.  It’s such a versatile little grain.  I like to experiment with replacing it with pasta or rice.  After consulting my More-with-Less cookbook, I decided to mess around with a recipe for “Pizza Rice Casserole” and ended up with this gem.

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The original recipe called for ground beef.  I’ve found that lentils cooked with veggie stock and adequately spiced are an excellent alternative to ground beef.  Even for non-veg-heads, lentils are an earth-friendly power food to keep in the cooking toolbox.

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The lentils get softened in veggie stock, then cooked up with tomatoes and onions.

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Cooked farro combines with – get this – cottage cheese – for a base layer.  Admittedly, I thought this scenario was at high risk for grossness, but it’s so good.  I was totally popping spoonfuls of farro-cottage cheese while I cooked this.

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It’s gettin’ spicy in here.

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Everything gets layered, church-potluck style.

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Annnnd, there was SO MUCH leftover.  And I know that we love us some leftovers.  (I took the plunge and froze some.  Don’t go there.  There’s not quite enough liquid to preserve it.)

Anyway, I hope your week has been lovely, and thank you, thank you, thank you, dear Farro Fairy, for sending me farro.

Recipe
Ingredient

1 Cup Farro
2 Tablespoons Olive Oil
1 Cup Lentils
1 Medium Onion, Chopped
2 Cloves Garlic, Chopped
1 15 oz. Can Crushed Tomatoes
1 1/2 teaspoons Salt, divided
1/2 teaspoon Oregano
1/2 teaspoon Rosemary
1/2 teaspoon Cumin
Dash of Ground Black Pepper
1 1/2 Cups Cottage Cheese (any fat content)

(1) Cook Farro.  Combine 1 Cup Farro with 2 Cups of Water or Stock and dash of salt.  Set on stovetop on low simmer for 20 to 30 minutes, until farro is soft.  The farro may not completely soak up any water.  Drain off any excess and set aside.

(2) Cook Lentils.  Combine 1 Cup Lentils with 2 Cups Stock (strongly preferred to water here).  Add dash of salt.  Remove when lentils are soft, about 20 minutes.  Drain if necessary.

(3) Saute Onion in Olive Oil over medium heat until onions are just beginning to be translucent, about 5 minutes.  Turn heat to low and add garlic, crush tomatoes, and lentils.  Add 1 teaspoon salt, oregano, rosemary, cumin, and black pepper.  Simmer for 10 minutes.

(4) Combine cooked farro and cottage cheese.  Add 1/2 teaspoon salt.

(5) Remove lentil mix from heat.  In medium dutch oven (sprayed with oil or butter), layer lentil mix and farro mix, beginning with lentil mix.  Continue until dutch oven overflows, or, until you run out of food.

(6) Bake at 325 degrees for 30 minutes, or until hot and bubbly.

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