An Old Flame Rekindled
There is a lot to love in Venice - all these wonders I had not until now experienced. I did, however, run into an old Tuscan flame while here, and it was just fireworks again from the first moment.
Shrimp and Farro with Peas and Saffron Cream
1 1/2 cups farro, rinsed and soaked for 12-24 hours (if not “instant”)
2 1/2 tablespoons unsalted butter, divided
3 tablespoons minced sweet onion
3 tablespoons dry white wine, divided
1 1/2 cups heavy cream
1/2 teaspoon crushed saffron threads
1 cup frozen or fresh shelled peas
3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
1 pound shrimp, peeled and deveined
Leaves from a half-bunch of flat-leaf parsley
Freshly ground black pepper
Bring a large pot of salted water to boil. Add pre-soaked farro to 8 cups boiling water; reduce heat to a simmer and cook until al dente, about 30 minutes. At the end of its cooking time, season with salt; do not salt the water in the beginning or you will have very tough farro.
While the farro is cooking, heat 1 1/2 tablespoons butter and cook minced onion in saucepan over medium heat for 2 minutes. Add 2 tablespoons of the wine and cook until almost evaporated. Add cream and saffron. Cook, stirring well, for 2 minutes, then reduce to a gentle simmer and cook, stirring occasionally, until sauce is thickened - about 3-5 minutes. Season with salt. Remove from heat and set aside.
Place remaining butter and wine in a small saucepan and add the peas. About 5 minutes prior to farro being ready, bring peas, butter and wine to a simmer. Season with salt and cook until crisp-tender - about 5 minutes.
Heat 1 tablespoon olive oil in a large nonstick skillet over medium-high heat. Add shrimp to skillet and cook for 2-3 minutes per side. Drain farro and add to shrimp, stirring, just to heat through. Remove from heat, stir in remaining 2 tablespoons olive oil and parsley; season with salt and pepper.
Reheat the saffron sauce, adding a little more cream if it has gotten too thick. Divide sauce among 4 serving plates Spoon farro and shrimp over sauce. Garnish with cooked peas.