Farro with walnut and arugula pesto, spring asparagus and roasted mushrooms
1 clove garlic
1 teaspoon fennel seeds, toasted
1/2 teaspoon mustard seeds, toasted
1 cup raw walnuts
1 teaspoon whole grain mustard
1/2 cup fresh parsely, rinsed and dried well
2- 3 cups arugula, rinsed and dried
3- 4 tablespoons apple cider vinegar
1 tablespoon lemon juice + zest
salt and pepper, to taste
Rest of dish:
1-2 pounds assorted mushrooms, trimmed and cleaned
1/4 cup walnut oil
handful parsley, chopped
2 cups farro
1 pound fresh spring asparagus
2 shallots, minced
1/4 cup farro reserved cooking water
1. For the pesto: Pulse the shallot, garlic, mustard seeds and fennel in a food processor. Add the walnuts and a big drizzle of walnut oil, blend until you have a thick paste. Add the mustard. Pack in the parsley and arugula and blend, adding oil to keep it smooth until you have a fluffy, bright green paste. Add the vinegar a tablespoon at a time, pulse to incorporate and taste. Add the lemon juice and a little zest. Add salt and pepper to taste. Set aside.
2. Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F. Toss the mushrooms in the walnut oil and toss with the parsley and a couple shakes of freshly ground pepper. Do not salt them! Lay the mushrooms out on a parchment paper lined cookie sheet and roast them for 20- 30 minutes. You will know when they are done.
3. While the mushrooms are roasting, cook the farro in salted water (reserving 1/4 cup cooking liquid). You can steam the asparagus over the boiling water. Caramelize the shallot in saute pan. When the mushrooms, asparagus and shallot are done toss them all together and add a little salt and pepper and a squeeze of lemon.
4. In the warm pot, mix the pesto with the reserved cooking water and toss the warm farro in the pesto. Pile the farro in a big bowl and top with the asparagus and mushrooms. Serve warm.
Source of recipe: I wrote this recipe for a dinner party I planned around a bottle of amazing rose that I hauled back from South Africa in my suitcase. It was a major hit! And, I've made it many times since to equally excited accolades. I hope you enjoy!