Farro is having something of a moment lately, becoming a favorite grain of chefs and home cooks alike for its nutty flavor, addictively chewy texture, and high fiber content. Here, we’re nodding to its place in Italian cuisine (it has a history there that goes back to Roman times), preparing it risotto-style. To fill it out, we’re adding in bright lemon, crunchy walnuts, and green veggies prepared two ways.
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Veggie Stock Concentrate
Adjust rack to middle position and preheat oven to 450 degrees. Combine farro, stock concentrates, and 3½ cups water (6 cups for 4 servings) in a medium pot. Bring to a boil and cook until farro is tender, 25-30 minutes total. TIP: If you end up with any excess stock, simply pour it out. Alternatively, if stock evaporates before farro is done, add a splash of water.
Meanwhile, wash and dry all produce. Trim and discard woody bottom ends from asparagus. Cut off tips and set aside; chop stalks into ½-inch pieces. Trim and thinly slice zucchini into rounds. Halve, peel, and finely dice onion. Peel and mince or grate garlic. Zest and halve lemon; cut one half into wedges.
Toss asparagus tips and zucchini with a large drizzle of olive oil on a baking sheet. Season generously with salt and pepper. Roast on middle rack, tossing halfway through, until browned and tender, 15-20 minutes.
While veggies roast, heat a drizzle of olive oil in a large pan over medium-high heat. Add onion and cook, stirring frequently, until softened and translucent, 3-4 minutes. Add garlic and cook, stirring, until fragrant, 30 seconds.
When farro has 5 minutes left (grains should be just shy of al dente), stir chopped asparagus stalks into pot. Once everything is tender, drain farro and asparagus, then add to pan with onion and garlic. Stir in half the lemon zest, juice from lemon half, half the Parmesan (save the rest for serving), and 1 TBSP butter (2 TBSP for 4 servings). Season with salt and pepper.
Divide farro mixture between bowls. Top with zucchini and asparagus tips. Sprinkle with walnuts and remaining Parmesan and lemon zest. Serve with lemon wedges on the side.