Tuesday, January 26, 2010

Hanger Steak Ragu with Farro

Farro is an ancient grain that is expensive because it has a low yield per acre compared to the wheat more widely grown. After tasting it, though, it will be on our table on special occasions. Farro is also called emmer wheat. Beware the spelt as a substitution as it will not be as firm when cooked.

Once I found the farro at Lunardi's in Burlingame and reading the "Traditional recipe" on the back of the $6.50, 1.1 lb bag, I decided to go Italian by treating it as a traditional pasta. I also had some hanger steak that I bought from Golden Gate Meats that had been rubbed with a garlic and herb dry rub, which delivered the total inspiration to make my Hanger Steak Ragu mixed with farro as our dinner last night.

The recipe was not very detailed, so I had to wing it a bit. I also doubled the recipe to have leftovers for lunch with my friend Bill today.
Here's what was on the bag with some annotations by me to clarify it and to double it:

8.8 oz of semi-pearled farro (2 cups dry measure)
3.5 oz of ground beef (1 hanger steak, approximately 3/4 lb with garlic and herb dry-rub, sliced into medallions)
2 tablespoons Olive Oil
2 celery sticks (I did not double the celery; the celery was chopped into dice brunoise)
1 small carrot (I used 2 carrots chopped into dice brunoise)
1 medium onion finely chopped (I did not double this either; the onion was diced)
Salt and pepper to taste
A splash of white wine (I used a Sonoma County sangiovese blend, which is red, from Unti about 1/4 cup. We drank the rest of the bottle with dinner. It was a perfect pairing)
Tomato Sauce (no measure given. I used a 24.5 oz jar of Amy's Organic Tomato Basil pasta sauce)
Beef or vegetable stock (no measure given again. I used about 1-1/2 cups of home made beef stock)
Grated Parmesan Cheese or Pecorino (I used Parmesan Regganio. 2 cups plus one cup grated fine)
I also added a diced leek which I found in my fridge after I photographed the ingredients
I also added some finely chopped Italian parsley about 1/2 cup loose

The ingredients mis en place

Method (this is my interpretation)
Brown the meat in a saucepan with the olive oil. Remove to a plate with a slotted spoon.
Add the vegetables to the oil and saute until translucent about 10 minutes. Pour in wine and cook until it evaporates scraping up brown bits. Add all of the browned beef plus any drippings, 1/2 of the beef stock, and tomato sauce and bring to a simmer, cooking for about 5 minutes.
Meanwhile, cook the farro in salted boiling water for 10 minutes. Drain.
Add the farro and parsley to the sauce and cook for 15 more minutes at a low simmer adding stock when necessary.
Add 2 cups of cheese to the sauce and mix to combine.

This may now be served family style in the Italian tradition on a platter with the remaining 1 cup of cheese sprinkled on top or into bowls for individual servings again with some cheese sprinkled on top.

It was delicious!

Emmer Wheat on FoodistaEmmer Wheat

1 comment:

  1. Sangiovese sounds lovely with farro. Usually, the standard Italian table wine is Chianti, which doesn't have the intense tannins of Merlot or other reds, and goes fairly well with white sauces and poultry as well as tomato. I've also found that Garnachas, including Las Rocas, work perfectly with Italian meals, from the antipasto salad all the way up a main course of, say, pasta. If you can get over the apparent gaucheness of drinking a Spanish wine with Italian food it's a great combination, especially if the courses include salami or Caesar salad.