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Appetizers and Sides

Pancetta and Sweet Pea Cheesy Farro

I already know what your first question is going to be. What is Farro? Well, let me tell you about it ๐Ÿ™‚

I remember being served farro at a nice restaurant a couple years ago for the first time and I was smitten! Farro is often used as a substitute for pasta or rice, and is a grain with a nutty flavor similar to brown rice. It is rich in fiber, magnesium and vitamins A, B, C, and E. Sounds good right? Well it is. I LOVE the texture. Think bigger and better brown rice but better tasting, lol!

You can find farro pretty easily. I would first try Whole Foods, Trader Joes, Sprouts, Fresh and Easy. You can also order it online if you have trouble.

Let’s take a look at this cheesy dreamy farro dish that I developed. You are going to love it!

Here’s what farro looks like after it’s cooked. You cook it just like pasta. It’s tossed right into boiling water then drained once cooked. Easy easy.

Ok, let’s check out my homemade cheese sauce. You start by making a roux. You often start homemade mac and cheese this way. Melt your butter, then whisk in flour, salt and pepper.

Whisk in your chicken broth, increase your heat and continue whisking until thickened.

Stir in your cheese until melted and fabulous. Reduce heat to low.

Totally optional, but very recommended….add a few drops of hot sauce. Adds great flavor.

Time to brown your pancetta. Pancetta is not quite ham, not quite bacon, but right in the middle somewhere. It’s salty, somewhat sweet and delicious.

Add your cooked farro to the pot.

Add about 1/2 can drained sweet peas. If you despise sweet peas, no big deal. Either leave them out or substitute with another cooked vegetable of your choice.

Pretty! Now mix.

My favorite part. Pour it in baby!

Let me just take a moment here, lol!

If I haven’t convinced you to try this yet, I’m betting this picture does the trick ๐Ÿ™‚

Season with salt and pepper to taste.


Pancetta and Sweet Pea Cheesy Farro


  • 4 cups cooked Farro or rice
  • 4 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • 1/4 cup all purpose flour
  • 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 cup reduced sodium chicken broth
  • 1 cup shredded cheddar cheese
  • 2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 cup pancetta
  • 1 cup sweet peas, drained if using canned


  1. Place cooked Farro into a bowl to use later. Place butter into a small saucepan over medium heat to melt. Whisk in flour, salt and pepper to combine. Whisk in chicken broth, increase heat to high whisking constantly. When thickened, reduce heat to low and stir in cheese until melted. Simmer on low.
  2. Place oil into a large skillet over medium heat. Add pancetta and cook, stirring until browned. Add cooked Farro, cheese sauce and peas stirring to combine. Taste and season with additional salt and pepper to your liking. Serve warm.

Makes 6 Servings

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29 Responses | Comments RSS

  1. 1
    Madison says:

    Wow! That looks like creamy, cheesy goodness. ๐Ÿ™‚ I have not tried farro before and may now have to try it out. Thanks for sharing!!

  2. 2

    I’ve never tried farro before and have never seen it used in a recipe but this might just give me an excuse to try it! Looks amazing Jenny. I could eat anything that had as much cheesy-goodness as this does!

  3. 3

    I’m so glad you explained what farro is because I didn’t know and didn’t want to ask for fear of looking silly. ๐Ÿ™‚ I will say that this dish looks amazing – very risotto-like!

  4. 4

    This looks so creamy and delicious, Jenny! YUM!

  5. 5

    Looks like another amazing recipe!

  6. 6

    oooo I LOVE the pancetta added into this for that bacon-esque bite and the cheese!! yum ๐Ÿ™‚ this looks like a great alternative to other grains! i love that big whisk too, btw ๐Ÿ˜‰

  7. 7
    Janet Helm says:

    Looks good. I love farro, it’s a fabulous whole grain, although it’s NOT gluten-free. Farro is wheat. It may be lower in gluten than modern-day wheat varieties, but it is not fully gluten-free. So some folks with a gluten intolerance may have better luck with farro, but for those with celiac, this is not a gluten-free grain. Farro is similar to freekeh, another ancient wheat variety (also, one of my favorites). They’re both lower in gluten, but not classified as gluten free.

  8. 8

    I am so freaking out over this right now.

  9. 9
    Jenna says:

    Gosh this lookS wonderful

  10. 10

    My husband hates peas (weird!) so I think I’ll just have to eat the whole batch myself.

    DARN ๐Ÿ˜‰

  11. 11

    What a beautiful dish–love that you’re sneaking it spring flavors. I need that after all the nasty weather. ๐Ÿ™‚

  12. 12

    Love this! I may be able to get my family to eat peas this way! ๐Ÿ™‚

  13. 13
    Katherine R. says:

    I have been tiring of my traditional grains lately, lol! I can’t wait to give this healthy alternative a shot! Looks delicious (plus who can say no to cheese and pancetta?!). Thanks for the recipe!

  14. 14

    I’ve never tried farro before, but this recipe makes me want to check it out! I love the combination of cheese, peas, and pancetta, you can’t go wrong.

  15. 15
    Gaby says:

    LOVE FARRO! seriously my favorite grain ever!!

  16. 16
    marla says:

    Oh how I LOVE pancetta ~ a great main or side dish Jenny!!

  17. 17

    Convinced! This looks just perfect!

  18. 18
    Maria says:

    Love farro! Great dish!

  19. 19
    Kim says:

    So, if you aren’t a pork fan, what would you use instead? Since I’ve never used farro, I’m deferring to the expert!

  20. 20

    I wish farro was gluten-free. I’d eat it by the heapful. Yep no doubt about it. On a completely unrelated note, you have such a beautiful kitchen!!

  21. 21
    kita says:

    We share the same favorite moment. Pour that cheesy broth in baby!

  22. 22
    Meredith says:

    Made it tonight as the side dish to a roast. Loved it!! Thanks for the recipe ๐Ÿ™‚

  23. 23

    My first experience with faro was in a small cafe in the Ferry Building in SF. I had a faro oatmeal and it was ridiculously good! Loving the cheese sauce part!

  24. 24

    This looks delicious! I have everything on hand to make it – can’t wait to try it!!

  25. 25

    This is my kind of meal! I don’t think I have ever had farro..need to get on that!

  26. 26

    […] I already know what your first question is going to be.ย  What is Farro?ย  Well, let me tell you about it Read the rest of Pancetta and Sweet Pea Cheesy Farro […]

  27. 27
    Michelle says:

    I made this tonight with quinoa as I couldn’t find farro. This was delicious!

  28. 28

    […] Pancetta and Sweet Pea Cheesy Farro […]

Jenny Flake

Welcome to Picky Palate, my online kitchen! You'll usually find me with a cookie in one hand and a salad in the other. It's all about the balance :) The recipes you'll see are my creations. The Picky Palate Cookbook is now available. Enjoy!