Mario and Gabrielle harvest their own saffron each fall at Le Magnolie. The process requires patience, flexibility, and a strong back, as picking the small crocuses involves hours spent hunched over the long rows of flowers. Here, Gabrielle pairs the spice with nutty farro and pine nuts to complement its delicate nature.


  • 2 1/2 quarts (2.5 liters) homemade chicken broth or canned low-sodium broth
  • 1/2 teaspoon saffron
  • 2 tablespoons (30 ml) extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1 small yellow onion, cut into fine dice
  • Kosher salt
  • 2 cups (13 oz./380 g) pearled farro
  • 1/2 cup (118 ml) dry white wine
  • 2 tablespoons CM stick) unsalted butter
  • 1/4 cup grated Parmigiano Reggiano, plus 1/4 cup shaved for garnish
  • Freshly ground black pepper
  • 1/3 cup pine nuts, toasted


1. Bring the chicken broth to a simmer in a 4-quart pot over medium heat. Reduce the heat to low and keep warm. Combine Vz cup of warm broth with the saffron in a small liquid measuring cup and set aside to let the saffron bloom.

2. In a 12-inch straight-sided saute pan, heat the olive oil over medium-high heat. Add the onion and a pinch of salt, and cook, stirring occasionally, until tender and just beginning to brown, 5 to 6 minutes. Add the farro to the pan and stir until the grains are coated with the oil and lightly toasted, 1 to 2 minutes. Add the wine and cook, stirring occasionally, until reduced to dry, about 30 seconds.

3. Add the saffron broth to the pan and ladle enough of the warm broth into the pan to barely cover the farro. Bring to a boil, then adjust the heat to maintain a lively simmer. Cook, stirring frequendy, until the broth is mostly absorbed, 2 to 3 minutes. Continue adding broth a ladleful at a time, stirring occasionally and letting each addition be absorbed before adding the next. Cook until the farro is toothsome and creamy, 20 to 25 minutes. Stir in the butter and 1/4 cup of the grated Parmigiano; season to taste with salt and pepper.

4. Serve the farro in individual shallow bowls and top with the toasted pine nuts and shavings of Parmigiano.

Serves 4

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Submitted 9/15/13.
Source: The Southern Italian Farmer's Table: Authentic Recipes and Local Lore from Tuscany to Sicily by Matthew Scialabba & Melissa Pellegrino
Submitted By: b smith

Creamy Farro with Saffron and Toasted Pine Nuts