I love crispy mushrooms. On pizza, pasta, salads, tacos, you name it. In this dish, mushrooms add both flavor and texture that make it “meaty” without any meat. This recipe was conceived when I was trying to make Alison Roman’s Creamy Farro with Crispy Mushrooms and Sour Cream and didn’t quite have the right ingredients. The end result was delicious and something else entirely its own, a unique combination of grains in a deeply savory, vegetarian broth.
- 1 1/2 lbs mixed mushrooms (shiitake, maitake, trumpet, oyster, cremini, chantrelles would all work well) cleaned and cut or torn into bite sized pieces
- 1 shallot, sliced thinly
- 2 springs of fresh thyme, leaves removed or 1 teaspoon dried thyme
- 1/2 cup plus 2 tablespoons olive oil, divided
- 1 recipe beans from scratch or 2 cans cannellini beans, drained but not rinsed
- 1/2 yellow onion, diced
- 3 cloves of garlic, sliced thinly
- 1/2 teaspoon red pepper flakes
- parmesan rind
- 1 bay leaf
- 2 lemons
- 1/2 cup cooked farro
- 1 scallion, chopped finely
- 2 sprigs dill, chopped finely
- parmesan cheese, for grating
- salt and pepper to taste
Preheat oven to 450 degrees Fahrenheit. On two baking sheets, combine mushrooms, shallots, thyme, 1/2 cup olive oil, and salt and pepper to taste. Toss the mushroom mixture so that each piece is coated in oil and spread evenly across the pans. Roast the mushrooms, stirring them half way through cooking until browned and crisp, about 25-30 minutes.
Meanwhile, in a large sauce pot or medium-sized dutch oven, heat the remaining 2 tablespoons olive oil over medium heat. Add the onions, garlic, chili flakes, and season with salt and pepper. Cook until onions are soft and starting to look translucent, about 7 minutes. Add parmesan rind, bay leaf, beans, and bean broth. Using a vegetable peeler, zest one of the lemons, taking care to create large peels. Add this to the beans. Season with salt and pepper, and add enough water so that the beans are just covered.
Bring the beans to a full boil, and reduce to a simmer. Simmer the beans until the broth is deliciously creamy, about 35-40 minutes. Once the beans are done, remove lemon peels and parmesan rind. Use a microplane grater to zest the second lemon into the beans and add additonal salt and pepper if needed. Stir gently to combine.
To serve, spoon beans and bean broth into shallow bowls. Top with cooked farro, crispy mushrooms, scallions, dill, and a squeeze of lemon juice. Grate parmesan over the top, adding a pinch of red pepper flakes and lots of cracked black pepper.