Cook This: Farro and Roasted Butternut Squash.
Farro is a grain that is common in Italian restaurants and delis. You can find it here in the health food store and occasionally at restaurants- here in Portland, anyway. The grain is a bit nutty and is related very closely to wheat. It is not a gluten-free grain but it does vary from wheat enough that for some people who are sensitive to wheat it is a reasonable alternative. Since as a rule I recommend people vary the grains that they eat (all the foods they eat, actually) I have been doing a bit of experimenting with recipes that are farro based.
This recipe was adapted from a recipe on the site 101cookbooks, the blog by cookbook author Heidi Swanson. I stumbled upon it looking for a farro recipe and am really looking forward to trying more of her recipes.
The original recipe is here. Below is the recipe adjusted to our taste preferences- including less grain more squash, less salt, more walnuts, more onions, less oil and hold the cheese!
- 1 cup farro
- 1 teaspoon sea salt
- 2.5 cups simply stock (pacific brand organic chicken stock)
- 4 cups butternut squash, cut into 1/2-inch dice
- 2 large onions cut into slices
- 1 tablespoon fresh thyme, minced
- 3 tablespoons olive oil
- 1 tablespoon balsamic vinegar
- 1.5 cup walnuts, deeply toasted
- .25 cup goat cheese to crumble on top (optional)
1. Preheat oven to 325.
2. Combine the farro and stock in a large, heavy saucepan over medium heat. Cover and simmer, stirring occasionally, until the farro is tender, usually about 45 minutes but maybe longer. Start tasting after about 40 minutes as you want it to retain some firmness and not get too mushy. When it’s done, pull off the stove, drain, rinse and set aside.
3. While the farro is cooking toss the squash, onion, and thyme with the olive oil, balsamic vinegar and salt and arrange in a single layer on a baking sheet. Place on the middle rack of the oven for about 45 minutes or until soft and sweet with slight browning or caramelizing on the surface of the squash. Toss every 10 minutes or so to get even cooking. When the squash is sweet and soft remove from the oven, let cool a bit, and chop the onions into small pieces.
4. And while the squash is cooking you can toast the walnuts. This can be done in one of two ways. You can chop them and lay them on a baking sheet and put them in the oven under the broiler. Or, you can toast them on a cast iron pan on the stovetop. I’ve caught a few too many trays of nuts on fire in my oven so I’m a stovetop kind of nut toaster.
5. In a large bowl gently toss it all together. Taste and add a bit of salt if necessary.
6. Top with goat cheese if you’re the dairy eatin’ kind.
We’re serving this with wilted kale and nutritional yeast on the side. You could also add kale to this dish, I would imagine, with a great result. If you’re looking to serve a protein with it, I think roasted chicken would be just lovely. Or even a nice piece of salmon or steelhead with a balsamic glaze.