corn butter farro

A logical progression after making zucchini butter spaghetti a few times — provided you’re a person who likes zucchini, butter, and spaghetti, or what happens when the first two melt silkily against the third — is to ask yourself, what can I butter next? What vegetable wants to be cooked down until it’s tender, concentrated, and almost buttery and then fused with actual butter to make something better than both things? My friend Alissa and I debated this a couple months ago, cycling through carrots, peas, and tomatoes* before landing on corn. Except it was more like oh my god: CORN!

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I don’t need to explain why corn and butter are so good together [see: butted popcorn and grilled ears of corn with pats of butter melting over them onto the plate that you roller the corn through to collect it back into the grooves], especially when salt is involved. The mixture is so lush and naturally rich and sweet, I wanted to use it with something grainy and hearty, for contrast. Enter: farro. If you like the sauciness and approachability of the one-pan farro with tomatoes, you are going to swoon here. We use corn two ways. Some is left whole and cooked with the farro yet somehow stays lightly crunchy and sweet while the farro softens. The rest is blended with butter to make a creamy sauce you stir in at the end, giving the farro a risotto-like decadence (but not heaviness). I finish it with some chives and parmesan, but honestly you could skip the parmesan, it’s plenty amazing without it.

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Listen, I know this bowl may look semi-beige, lumpy, and questionable but trust me that every single person [well, every other person] who has tried this has scraped the plate clean. It’s that kinda good and as I’m feeling phenomenally lazy this summer, trust that I would not crank up ye olde blog apparatus nor encourage us to turn on our stoves for anything less.

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* Hold that thought as there’s a roasted tomato butter in Smitten Kitchen Keepers, which will be out in a mere 96 days!


6 months ago: Crispy Cabbage and Cauliflower Salad
1 year ago: Baked Farro with Summer Vegetables
2 years ago: Mathilde’s Tomato Tart
3 years ago: Black Pepper Tofu and Eggplant
4 years ago: Foccacia Sandwiches for a Crowd
5 years ago: Blackberry-Blueberry Crumb Pie
6 years ago: Summer Squash Pizza, Peach Melba Popsicles, and Chile-Lime Melon Salad
7 years ago: Raspberry Crushed Ice
8 years ago: Cold Noodles with Miso, Lime, and Ginger and Apricot Pistachio Squares
9 years ago: Charred Corn Crepes, Burst Tomato Galette with Corn and Zucchini and Strawberry, Lime, and Black Pepper Popsicles
10 years ago: Pink Lemonade Bars and Charred Pepper Steak Sauce
11 years ago: Sugar Plum Crepes with Ricotta and Honey
12 years ago: Everyday Chocolate Cake and Zucchini and Almond Pasta Salad
13 years ago: Asparagus with Chorizo and Croutons and Sour Cherry Slab Pie
14 years ago: Cantaloupe Salsa and Plum Kuchen and Roasted Carrot and Avocado Salad
15 years ago: Summer Pea and Roasted Red Pepper Pasta Salad
16 years ago: Huevos Racheros, Blueberry Crumb Bars, Napa Cabbage Salad with Buttermilk Dressing, and Quick Zucchini Sauté

Corn Butter Farro

The single thing I need you to promise me is that you will season this well at each stage with salt, black pepper, and red pepper flakes too if you’d like more of a kick. When an ingredient list is short, the correct level of seasoning will make an even bigger impact. If you’d like to use broth instead of water, you absolutely can but I just used water each time and didn’t feel that I was missing any flavor. Farro cooking times can vary between brands; when in doubt, default to the cooking time listed on the package (be it 10-minute or 60-minute farro).
  • 3 to 4 tablespoons (45 to 60 grams) unsalted butter, divided
  • 1 tablespoon (15 grams) olive oil
  • 3 cups fresh corn kernels (from 3 to 4 cobs)
  • Kosher salt
  • 3 cups (710 grams) water
  • 1 cup (205 grams) semi-pearled farro
  • 1 medium onion, halved and thinly sliced
  • 2 cloves garlic, thinly sliced
  • Freshly ground black pepper
  • Red pepper flakes, to taste
  • 2 tablespoons (20 grams) minced scallions or fresh chives for garnish
  • Grated parmesan cheese, for serving (optional)
Heat a medium saucepan (3 quarts) over medium-high heat for a minute. Once it’s hot, add 1 tablespoon of the butter and 1 tablespoon olive oil and warm. Add corn and 1 teaspoon salt and sauté for 4 to 5 minutes, just until the corn softens a bit. Scoop half of corn into the work bowl of a food processor or blender and set aside. Add onion, garlic, farro, black pepper and red pepper flakes to corn in pot and cook, stirring, for 1 to 2 minutes, just to start softening the ingredients. Add water, another 1 teaspoon salt, more pepper, and bring to a boil. Reduce heat to a low simmer, cover, and cook for 30 minutes [or whatever cooking time the package of farro suggests], until the farro is tender with a slight chew and the water has mostly absorbed.

[If you’re getting a lead on dinner, this is a great time to pause the recipe. Just let it sit with the lid on for an hour or two, until needed. Rewarm before continuing.]

Add remaining 2 to 3 tablespoons of butter — the correct amount is whatever is in your heart that day; both levels work — to the food processor and blend with the corn until absolutely smooth. Taste and add more salt (I usually add another 1/2 teaspoon here), blending to mix it.

When the farro is tender, taste the mixture for seasoning, adjusting as needed with more salt, black pepper, or red pepper flakes. If you have a lot of leftover cooking liquid, use a slotted spoon to hold back the grains and pour or ladle some off. With the pan off the heat, stir in the blended corn butter. Transfer to a serving bowl and finish with scallions or chives and parmesan, if you wish.

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