Today, I would like to introduce my first-ever guest blogger, Dante Marino. Dante was “introduced” to me by the aforementioned Lehigh legend, Kellie Fisher. When I approached Dante about sharing some of his recipes on Sly Rooster, I mentioned that I felt as if I knew him through Kellie’s Facebook posts. Dante’s response was that some 100+ people have approached him with the same sentiment during the year or so that he’s been dating Kellie. He credited the power of social media. Once again, I credit the power of Kellie Fisher.
I was intrigued by Dante’s ability to make legitimate restaurant worthy meals at home, which as it turns out are the product of stovetop tutelage from his Sicilian maternal grandmother augmented by a series of jobs in the culinary industry. I will let Dante tell the rest of his story and hope that you give his Farro Salad a try. Studded with vegetables, fruits, nuts and herbs it is a flavorful side dish or a meal unto itself. The first time I made Dante’s Farro was for a Super Bowl Party (I know, I know, who brings farro to a super bowl party?) and it was a hit. I ate the leftovers with a piece of grilled salmon on top (chicken would work, too). The next time I made this recipe, I found myself poaching two eggs and serving it as a late supper. Needless to say, the recipe is versatile and forgiving–with ingredient swaps and quantity adjustments welcome. Without further ado, here’s Dante…
Last December Kellie and I were planning a Holiday Open House for family and friends and the subject turned to a proposed menu. Anyone who knows Kellie, knows that she has very strong ideas about how to run a party or dinner event. I also have strong feelings about this subject as I’ve been entertaining at a high level my entire adult life. During this planing session, I learned that Kellie is obsessed with farro. Not sure where it came from but she announced that whatever else we decide to serve, we must have a farro dish on our menu. More than likely Kellie had been out in NYC at one of the hot restaurants of the moment, had her first taste of farro and was hooked.
With this farro mandate, I promised to do a google search and look for something interesting that would work. I looked online and scanned my 60 or so cookbooks but couldn’t find something that I really connected with, so I decided to create our own recipe. I loved the idea of creating a Winter Farro Salad…something that could be easily put together using pretty basic pantry and fridge ingredients. I also loved the idea of combining dried fruit with nuts and citrus as those are nods to my Sicilian Heritage. After a few days of trial and error I got to the attached recipe. It was a huge hit with our guests and we have subsequently served it at other dinner parties and it even made a return for our 2016 Holiday Open House. I hope that you enjoy Dante’s Farro (Sly Rooster’s recipe title, not the author’s!) as much as we do.
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- 1 c farro
- 1 small onion, diced
- 1 8-oz package of mushrooms, diced
- 1 medium sweet potato, peeled and diced
- 1 small red bell pepper, diced
- 1/3 c pomegranate seeds
- 1/3 c shelled pistachio nuts
- 1/3 c dried blueberries, cranberries or cherries
- 1/3 c chopped Italian flat leaf parsley
- 2 Tbls chopped fresh rosemary
- 3 cloves garlic, minced
- 1/4 c extra virgin olive oil
- juice of one ripe lemon
- salt and pepper, to taste
- Preheat the oven to 400F.
- Rinse farro grains in a colander until water runs clear.
- Combine farro with 3 cups of water in a saucepan.
- Bring to a low boil, stir and cook for 15-20 minutes, or until al dente. Drain any excess liquid and allow to cool to room temperature.
- Heat a Tbls of olive oil in a saute pan. Add the diced onion and mushrooms and cook over medium heat until the mushrooms release their liquid and the onions are lightly caramelized.
- Meanwhile, toss diced sweet potato in a Tbls of olive oil and spread onto a baking sheet. Roast in oven until lightly browned, about 15 minutes (tossing midway).
- While everything is cooking, combine the rest of the raw ingredients in a large bowl--red pepper, pomegranate seeds, dried fruit, parsley, rosemary, and garlic.
- Whisk dressing ingredients in a small bowl.
- When the sautéed mushroom and onions and roasted sweet potato are done cooking, add them to the large bowl along with the cooled farro.
- Combine all of the ingredients along with the dressing. Chill for 2 hours, or overnight, before serving.
Adapted from Dante Marino
Adapted from Dante Marino
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