Recipe of the Month: Abra Berens’ Pork Meatballs with Farrisoto

Abra Berens’ Pork Meatballs with Farrisoto

Yield: 4


  • 1 lb [450 g] ground pork

  • 1 egg

  • 1/4 cup [60 ml] heavy cream

  • 1/4 cup [45 g] bread crumbs (optional)

  • 1 tsp salt, plus more as needed

  • 1/2 tsp freshly ground black pepper

  • 3/4 tsp herbes de Provence or dried oregano

  • Neutral oil

  • 1 onion, thinly sliced

  • 3 garlic cloves, minced

  • 2 cups [250 g] pearled farro

  • 14 1/2 oz [410 g] canned ground tomato

  • 2 oz [60 g] Parmesan or pecorino for grating (optional)

  • 5 sprigs parsley, roughly chopped (optional)


  1. In a medium bowl, combine the pork, egg, cream, bread crumbs, 1 tsp salt, pepper, and dried herbs. With your hands or a wooden spoon, mix until slightly tacky. Pinch off a little bit and fry it to check the seasoning and adjust as you like.

  2. Scoop approximately 25 tablespoon-size balls onto a baking sheet, then lightly roll to make balls that hold their shape.

  3. In a large frying pan, heat a glug of neutral oil over medium heat and brown the meatballs on all sides until just cooked through (internal temperature of 165°F [74°C] or so). Remove the meatballs and set aside.

  4. Bring 8 cups [2 L] of water to a boil and keep it simmering.

  5. In the frying pan with the fat rendered from browning the meatballs, add the onion and garlic with a big pinch of salt and sweat over low heat until soft, 5 minutes or so. Add the farro and toast until fragrant, 1 to 2 minutes.

  6. Add the ground tomatoes and stir regularly until the tomatoes have started to bubble and the liquid has started to absorb.

  7. Add a ladleful of the boiling water and stir continuously until the liquid is absorbed. Continue adding the water, a ladleful at a time, stirring regularly, until the farro is tender but not mushy, about 20 minutes.

  8. To serve, portion the farrisotto into serving dishes. Top with the mini-meatballs and a hefty grating of cheese, and sprinkle with the chopped parsley (if using).

Reprinted from Grist: A Practical Guide to Cooking Grains, Beans, Seeds, and Legumes by Abra Berens with permission from Chronicle Books, 2021. Photographs © EE Berger.

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