Risotto you’ll rave about

By Bianca Tamburello, Dietetics Student, Sargent College

SC Carrot and Zucchini Risotto

The USDA recommends, “at least half of all the grains eaten should be whole grains”(1). Whole grains are packed with nutrients such as folate, B vitamins and iron that are lost in the processing of refined grains. These nutrients from whole grains are extremely important in the diet and have even been proven to “prevent high blood pressure, heart disease diabetes and even cancer” (1).


Whole grains are generally heartier and more course than refined grains, which can make it difficult to transition from refined grain to whole grains.  The key to a smooth transition and delicious substitution is preparing whole grains properly to receive all the health benefits with a desirable texture.

The Sargent Choice Nutrition Center dietitians have expertly created SC Carrot & Zucchini Farro Risotto that has the same creamy and rich texture as standard risotto without the usual added butter and refined grains.


Dry farro rice

How did we make the risotto?

First, we combined our chopped onions, carrots, zucchini, oil and salt in a saucepan and let them sweat for about 10 minutes. To add depth and bring out the natural flavors of the vegetables we added thyme and garlic. The thyme and garlic were stirred into the vegetables until the delightful scent filled the test kitchen.


Before adding the risotto, the directions on the bag indicated to rinse it with cold water.

We added the farro and cooked it until toasty.


Next, water and broth were added and we brought the mixture to a simmer.

This was my first experience making whole wheat risotto and I doubted my ability to acquire the proper texture. As I watched over the simmering saucepan, the thin layer of liquid on top of the farro rice made it appear more like soup than risotto. After a slight moment of panic, I allowed the rice time to simmer and with a blink of an eye it became creamy and thick.


Sometimes the risotto needs more than 25 minutes to simmer. Don’t be worried if it looks soup-y, just let it keep simmering.

The risotto was rich, creamy and savory with the infusion of thyme and garlic. The zucchini and carrots were slightly crisp and served as a balanced contrast for the smooth yet slightly chewy farro.

Sargent Choice Carrot & Zucchini Farro Risotto

Yield: 6 servings

1 small onion, minced
1 large carrot, peeled and chopped fine (about 1 cup)
1 small zucchini cut in ¼ -inch dice
1 ½ Tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
Kosher salt to taste
Ground black pepper to taste
3 garlic cloves, minced
1 teaspoon finely chopped fresh thyme
1 ½ cups pearled farro
2 cups all-natural vegetable broth, low sodium
1 ½ cup water
2 Tablespoons finely chopped fresh parsley
1 teaspoon fresh lemon juice


  1. Combine the onion, carrot, zucchini, oil, and ¼ teaspoon salt in a large Dutch oven or saucepan
  2. Cover and cook over medium heat, stirring occasionally, until the vegetables are softened, 8 to 10 minutes
  3. Stir in the garlic and thyme and cook until fragrant, about 1 minute
  4. Stir in the faro and cook until lightly toasted, about 2 minutes
  5. Stir in the broth and water, raise the heat, and bring to a simmer.  Reduce the heat and continue to simmer, stirring often, until the faro softens but is still a bit chewy, about 25 minutes
  6. Stir in the parsley and lemon juice
  7. Season with salt and pepper to taste
  • Enjoy!
  • 1 serving
    Calories 100
    Fat 4 g
    Saturated Fat 0.5 g
    Protein 2 g
    Carbohydrates 17 g
    Fiber 3 g


    USDA’s MyPlate



    ideal protein diet posted on April 21, 2012 at 4:48 am

    it’s a healthy food recipe and tasty one. although it needs more than 30 minutes to simmer (I think, its fire is too small), but I satisfied with the result. moreover, it can treat various illness

    Rochelle posted on April 23, 2012 at 12:33 pm

    Your pictures from this test kitchen are really awesome, Bianca. Can’t wait to try this recipe once I have a kitchen again.

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