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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I was just standing in my Kitchen looking at my jar of farro and the red pepper on the counter... wondering if I could make a risotto of it! Scary.


This used to be a good site but you obviously save any good idea you have now for your cookbook money making scheme. I bet you use words like "branding" in everyday speech. Now delete this you little editor you.

Frank Rizzo

A gorgeous looking dish, Heidi, and with winter just around the corner here, it is one I'll be filing in the memory banks for future use, thanks.


Heidi, I plan on making your Little Quinoa Patties, and under the title it says "goat cheese, garlic, herbs" and I don't see goat cheese in the ingredients list. Do I use goat cheese instead of the Parmesan listed, or is there an extra goat cheese measurement I should be adding? Also, the Muesli recipes lists oat germ, is that the same as oat bran? I am assuming not, but I have never seen oat germ before. Thanks for taking the time to answer these questions. I will be cooking out of your new book this week.


Congratulations on the feature in Whole Living Magazine ! That's fantastic! Photos are amazing as usual!

Ciao Florentina

Loved the behind the scene shots and love your new font on your site! Congrats and cheers :)


This looks delicious - I've never thought to make risotto with anything except rice. I've only just found your blog & am loving it so far. Thanks!

Caroline @ French Ponytail

elizabeth - no--farro is not gluten-free. it is a member of the wheat family, and while some claim that it is low in gluten, it, like spelt, is not digestible by those following GF diets. one could probably sub in rice or another GF grain, however. how unfortunate that an ad featuring rachel ray graces this page!


Uber drool! Super photo. I guess this might work quite nicely with spelt grain as well? Congratulations on the book, a real treat.


Hmmm...I've been thinking of making a bacon and egg - farro risotto lately, I think I may use this delicious sounding recipe as a base. Thx - S

Oui, Chef

Hello Heidi, beautiful shots - I'm definitely going to look out for the magazine. I wanted to ask, are you using expired Polaroid film, or Impossible? I haven't been able to get Impossible film to turn out quite so crisp, but if it's possible, then I will keep trying!


I was drawn to your blog by the Whole Living article. My 11 year old daughter and I love the magazine. I was inspired as well. As a newbie food blogger (virtuallyhomemade.blogspot.com) it's great to look at these established and beautiful blogs. Is this risotto gluten free by any chance? It looks and sounds delicious.

Elizabeth Hughes

I love Whole Living and loved the article. Heidi just curious if you remember what camera John Kernick was using?

Valery Rizzo

This looks fantastic; I love the recent "risotto that isn't quite risotto" recipes that I've been seeing on here. Between this and the fact that I got your cookbook last night, I'm going to be doing some experimenting with both millet and farro. Needless to say, I'm kind of excited!

Katy from DiningwithDusty

i just got your book in the mail last night from amazon, and i am so excited about it. cooking "your way" is what i have been looking for, but thought it was only attainable for people who knew all about food and was raised by a mother who was an amazing cook. i only know about foods sold in grocery stores and how many cans of things to put into a recipe. it isn't how i have wanted to cook, but i didn't know where else to go. until i found you!!!!! thank you!!!!


Yes! I have to agree with Sasha re "best 8 pages yet" in WL, love the magazine since it was called Body & Soul and that is what you are offering to us every time with your talent with simple but tasty ingredients, through your lense, etc., personally you have introduced me to so many new things, like farro for example, bought it just cause you "said so" and my boys & I love it! Thank you for all that you do with love, body and soul


Happy to say I'll be seeing you tomorrow night in Portland! Will go by Powell to get your book first. Thanks for all the lovely inspiration & intention shared so, well, naturally.


FINALLY! A recipe that will help me use up the millet sitting at the back of my kitchen cupboard.


Thanks for sharing your WL experience. I love the photos & I'm going right out to pick up a copy. I just wanted to add that I've had Super Natural Everyday for a little over a week now and I've prepared 7 tof he recipes already. It really is great, simple, everyday cooking. Thankyouthankyouthankyou!


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