Pizzichi di Farro Casserole
Farro pasta, rustic brown and rich with nutty flavor, provides a perfect canvas for fall cooking. This casserole is like macaroni and cheese with an earthy flavor, warm and rich from melted cheese and butter. Top with pieces of crispy pancetta or roasted pork, or explore other seasonal ingredients like mushrooms and pumpkin.
1/2 cup salted butter
1 package Rustichella d'Abruzzo Pizzichi di Farro
1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
1 cup Parmigiano Reggiano
Salt & pepper, to taste
1/4 pound pancetta, cut into small pieces and cooked until crispy
Options: substitute mushrooms, leftover pork roast, or diced pumpkin for pancetta
- Pre-heat oven to 350°F and lightly butter an earthenware dish or several small ramekins.
- Par-cook pasta in a large pot of well-salted boiling water for half the cooking time indicated on the package. Remove from heat, drain pasta, and spread on cookie sheet. Drizzle with olive oil and let cool for 5 minutes.
- Place pasta in buttered earthenware dish or ramekins, and top with half the remaining butter, and half the Parmigiano-Reggiano. Toss together. Top with pieces of crispy pancetta or optional toppings, spreading them over the casserole. Sprinkle casserole with the remaining Parmigiano and dabs of butter. Add salt and pepper to taste.
- Cover with aluminum foil and set on a baking tray covered with 1/2 in. water (this will keep the pasta from drying out). Bake at 350°F for about 30 minutes, until butter and cheese have melted. For the last 5 minutes of cooking, remove foil and brown under the broiler, keeping an eye on the casserole and removing when the top of the casserole is crispy and golden.
- Remove from oven, let cool for a few minutes, and serve.