Farro and Millet Risotto Recipe

A few behind-the-scenes shots from the Whole Living magazine photo shoot. And a simple Farro & Millet Risotto that is easily adaptable based on what is in season.

Farro and Millet Risotto

A good number of you emailed after seeing the profile of me in the May issue of Whole Living Magazine. Crazy, right? It ended up being eight pages(!), and highlighted a bunch of recipes from Super Natural Every Day. I thought I'd tell you a bit about how it came together, and share a few behind-the-scenes shots. On the recipe front, I'm tacking on a recipe for a Farro & Millet Risotto I've been making quite a bit lately as we try to close the door on winter this year - the weather hasn't entirely cooperated. You can use whatever fresh or roasted vegetables you like - asparagus, peas, and herbs are great this time of year. But I was making it with roasted delicata or other little squashes until recently.

Farro Millet Risotto Recipe

So - Whole Living. The story was shot by John Kernick, who I've admired from a far for a long time. He shot a lot of memorable feature articles for Gourmet Magazine that I'm sure you remember.

Truth be told, I was a little nervous about hosting a seven-person crew here. As most of you know, our apartment isn't very large, and I wasn't sure about how it was going to go down. But, ever onwards. The Whole Living crew based themselves for the better part of three days here - we hung out, cooked, went on little excursions, and took pictures. They were all super mellow, funny, talented, and in the end I was genuinely sad to see them go! Wayne popped off a few photos in the midst of everything, up above. :) I'll just go on the record as saying, thank god it didn't rain. The light was nice for most of it and we were even able shoot outside - mid-January. As far as the food was concerned, I've always appreciated the recipes featured in Whole Living - they're, so often, right up my alley. How lucky was I to have food editor Shira Bocar here for the shoot? She has a beautiful touch with food, and I loved seeing her take on my recipes. Hope we get to cook together again soon, Shira. :)

So, thank you John and Darrell, and Jamie, and lovely Lucy. And Lindsay for the article itself. And Rachel, and Maria, and Erika, and Dawn, and Sari, and Alex. Its not everyday one gets to be featured in one of their favorite magazines.

Farro Millet Risotto Recipe

Today's risotto is winter/spring adaptation, and distant cousin, of the Zucchini and Millet Risotto in the Rose Bakery cookbook - which we've been cooking from quite a bit over the past couple of months. It hadn't occurred to me to use millet in risotto until I tried it here, but it actually lends a nice creamy, porridge-like texture. I use farro or barley instead of rice as the base, and trick it out with whatever looks good at the market. You can do lots of fun things with the leftovers as well - fashion the day-after, cold risotto into arancini and pan-fry them. I even thin leftovers out with broth, add some beans and greens and make a soup of it. Give it a try!

Other news: I hope to see some of you in Portland and Seattle this weekend! It's going to be a whirlwind, and I'll be there for a handful of signings. Kim Boyce and I will be at The Cleaners @ The Ace Hotel on Friday night. I'll also be signing/selling books at The Remodelista Local Seattle Market on Saturday, April 30th, from 11am to 4pm. And later that evening alongside Lara Ferroni at Spare Room. Detailed info about each event is also here.

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Farro & Millet Risotto

HS: I used farro here, but you can certainly swap in pearl barley as an alternative.

3/4 cup / / 5 oz / 150 g uncooked millet
4 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
fine grain sea salt
1/4 cup / 2 oz / 55 g unsalted butter
2 medium yellow onions, thinly sliced
1 garlic clove, smashed and chopped
2 cups / 14 oz / 400 g semi-pearled farro
roughly 7 cups / 1.6 l good-tasting vegetable broth
2 big handfuls of freshly grated Parmesan

Add-ins: When delicata squash as still in season - I cube and roast it to top this risotto. In the photo above you'll also see I used some chopped chives and a generous drizzle of curried brown butter made from simply adding a bit of curry powder to a skillet of butter I'd browned over medium heat. But now that we are smack in the middle of spring, I've been trading out the squash for chopped asparagus and whole peas - adding them to the pot in the last few minutes.

It works best to cook the millet and farro separately here. Start by adding the millet to a small thick-bottomed saucepan over medium heat. Toast it, stirring constantly, until the millet is golden and fragrant - just a few minutes. Add 1 3/4 cup / 475 ml water, 1 tablespoon of the oil, and a couple generous pinches of salt. Stir, bring to a simmer, cover, and cook for about 20 minutes, or until the grains are cooked and free of liquid. Taste, and if they need more time, cook for a few minutes more, then remove from heat, and leave covered for another 5-10 minutes. Fluff with a fork, and set aside.

In the meantime, get the farro started in a separate large pot over medium-high heat. Stir in the remaining oil, butter, onions and a big pinch of salt. Cook until the onions are soft and translucent. Stir in the garlic, and cook for a couple minutes more. Add the farro and cook for a couple minutes before adding 2 cups of the broth. Cook, stirring, until the farro has absorbed most of the liquid before adding another cup. Keep adding stock in increments like this until the farro is cooked through - it takes some time. Once it's cooked, stir in half the millet. Add more broth if needed, the risotto should be loose. Decide whether or not you want to add the remaining millet - it's a personal preference really. The millet makes the risotto take on a more porridge-like texture. Now stir in most of the Parmesan. Taste, and adjust the seasoning. Add more broth if needed - again, you want the texture to be loose and creamy. A spoon should not be able to stand up straight in the risotto.

Serve hot, in bowls topped with the remaining Parmesan, and whatever else you like. In this instance I added some leftover roasted delicata squash {not pictured), a drizzle of curried brown butter, and chopped chives. But some toasted nut oil and chopped herbs might be a nice alternative, or even a swirl of harissa and toasted almonds....

Serves 6-8.

Prep time: 5 minutes - Cook time: 30 minutes

If you make this recipe, I'd love to see it - tag it #101cookbooks on Instagram!

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Very nice pictures! The risotto looks delicious!


I really need to get into millet - I've never cooked with it before. This medley of grains looks lovely. As does the shoot! Sounds like a real dream. Heidi xo

Heidi - Apples under my bed

So exciting! Congrats! And I love this recipe. Looking forward to changing up the usual risotto recipe.


Beautiful blog post.... beautiful pictures.... fantastic recipe.... makes me want to ask a question.....What is your 'curried brown butter?' I want to know more about that cuz it sounds great.

Tracy Wood

Those pictures are so beautiful! Congrats :) The risotto sounds delicious.

Jenn (Jenn's Menu and Lifestyle Blog)

Do you use an SX-70 on a regular basis? Congrats on the book and article! JI

Justin Ide

Heidi, the risotto looks so inviting! Spring has been reluctant to stay for good in Chicago, too. This risotto might be just the thing for one of these cold, drizzly nights. My favourite risotto is pretty simple--it's just seasoned with thyme and a generous heap of lemon zest. I think it'll adapt nicely with the farro and millet. Congratulations on the feature in Whole Living. I'll have to look for the issue--it's not a magazine I'm familiar with.


This is the kind of recipe I love. I am a bit of a nut for grains. Looks like you are having a lot of fun with your new book and everything that comes with it. Congratulations.

Laura @ SweetSavoryPlanet

Oh the brown butter sounds like such a wonderful addition to this. Another wonderful recipe, Heidi!

Brian @ A Thought For Food

I can't wait to try the chanterelle tacos featured in WL. And I love the pictures of people taking pictures of people taking pictures... must have been very fun indeed.


The recipe is wonderful and i LOVE the behind the scenes talk and info...that is just great! I always wonder so much about how people pull off the photo shoots they do...and so I loved all that info!

Averie (LoveVeggiesAndYoga)

Today I thought this about you and your success: You are truly timeless. Your beauty is effortless. Yeah for Seattle! See you there!


i have had an unnatural obsession with all things farro this year, and canNOT believe that i didn't add it to a risotto every! phenomenal idea...I'm just imagining the incredible textures that has to produce. congratulations on the feature! the photos are stunning, as are you, and i love the idea of taking Polaroids of the feast!

Heather (Heather's Dish)

Absolutely gorgeous! Congrats on the big feature! It's well-deserved :) A recent issue of Fine Cooking had a recipe for polenta made with millet and aged white cheddar. Reminds me of this.


The pictures today were really beautiful Heidi. ...and this recipe sounds very much like the one I make at home. Sounds delish !!

Mary (What's Cookin' with Mary)

Oh, I was so happy to get my WL mag in the mail and see you featured in it!! So much fun when things you love collide (maybe combine is a less violent way to say that :-). Many congrats and thank you for the behind-the-scenes look too.


Winter isn't cooperating here either, it is SO cold and wet where I live! The rissotto sounds so perfect on a day like today :). That is so great that you got 8 pages in Whole Living Magazing, you look terrific! Miriam@Meatless Meals For Meat Eaters

Miriam@Meatless Meals For Meat Eaters

I love it when good things happen to good people. Keep doing what you do so well, and so humbly, and so generously, and more and more people will take notice. Whole Living is just the tip of a very large iceberg.


Oh, and the curried browned butter that you drizzled over your bowl of risotto sounds really intriguing!


How wonderful that you're in Whole Living Magazine! That's so awesome!!! I'll have to pick up a copy ;) I loved the pictures Wayne took of you and the crew above. And I love the idea of this Farro and Millet Risotto!


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