When it comes to kale, I’m rather picky about how I prepare it. I’ll only eat it raw on occasion and when it’s cooked, it can’t be overly soft. This kale risotto sits in the middle on my kale scale, making it perfect. I’ve tried numerous grains in risottos and I keep coming back to farro. Pearled farro provides just the right amount of chewiness while creating a bit more warmth in the overall dish. Also, now is a good time to try your hand at making your own ricotta!
Kale Risotto with Farro
A take on the traditional risotto using farro in place of rice and ricotta for extra creaminess. Works well with kale, chard, or spinach!
- 2 cups water
- 2 cups low-sodium vegetable broth
- 2 teaspoons olive oil
- 1/4 cup sliced leeks see note
- 2 cloves garlic
- 3/4 cup pearled farro
- 1/4 cup dry white wine
- 1/4 teaspoon black pepper
- 3 cups shredded dino kale
- 1/2 cup whole milk ricotta
- 1/4 cup shredded smoked cheese like smoked fontina
- Salt to taste
- In a sauce pan, bring water and vegetable broth to a boil, reduce to a simmer, and let sit while making the risotto.
- Heat a medium pan with high sides over medium-low heat. Add in olive oil, followed leeks. Cook, stirring often, until the leeks are tender, 6 to 8 minutes. Stir in the garlic, cooking for one minute more.
- Stir in the farro and cook for one minute, letting farro toast. Add in the wine and black pepper. Continue to cook for about 2 minutes until most of the wine has cooked away.
- Add 1/2 cup of the stock and stir. Let risotto cook until nearly all the stock broth has been absorbed. Add another 1/2 cup and let absorb again, repeating the add broth/let absorb, stirring frequently, until the farro is tender, 40 to 50 minutes.
- Once farro is tender but there's still a bit of liquid left, add in the shredded kale. Stir and cook for 2 to 3 minutes until kale has wilted. Measure in the ricotta and smoked cheese, continuing to stir and cook until cheese has melted. Remove from heat, taste, and add salt as desired.
Tips and Tricks: To prepare leeks, remove green part of leek and cut leek in half lengthwise. Set cut side down, cut 1/8" half moons, and place in a bowl. Cover leeks with water and swish around to remove dirt. Drain before using.
Plan ahead: Find this recipe in the Naturally Ella Real Plans meal planning upgrade
Nutrition: See the information.
I could list endless variations for this kale risotto but I want to urge you to make it as is the first time around. The farro melds perfectly with the smoked cheese and fresh kale- I could eat this every day. However, a few ideas for you to play around with:
Vegan: While the smoked cheese adds flavor, it’s the ricotta that creates the creaminess. If you’re looking to make this vegan, leave out the smoked cheese and use your favorite vegan ricotta (make your own or my favorite store-bought one).
Greens: When it comes to risottos, I like the heartier greens that can stand up to heat. If you’re looking to switch out the kale, try chard or even collards.
Herbs: This kale risotto is the perfect start for adding herbs. Rosemary, dill, or parsley would be a nice addition.
As mentioned, I like kale cooked enough to be tender but not so that it’s extremely soft. My favorite kale recipes are usually have kale cooked just for a couple of minutes, no longer. If you’re like me, a few options: