Sunday, January 18, 2009

Farro and Butternut Squash

I found this recipe on 101cookbooks.com a few weeks ago and decided I wanted to make it. I like to try new things, and well, I love Butternut Squash so I thought this would be a good one. For those of you who don't know(which I didn't)... Farro is a grain that is supposedly very good for you. It's somewhere in between barley and brown rice. I found it to be very tasty.

I think this recipe would be very versatile and think I'll use it as a base for new recipes in the future. The author mentioned it would be good with barley or brown rice if you can't find farro and I would definitely agree.

Farro and Butternut Squash
2 cups farro, rinsed and drained
2 teaspoons fine-grain sea salt
5 cups water (or stock)
3 cups butternut squash, cut into 1/2-inch dice
1 large red onion cut into 1/8ths
2 cloves garlic minced/crushed (the recipe didn't call for this, but I felt it was needed)
1 tablespoon fresh thyme, minced (I used 1 tsp dry)
3 tablespoons olive oil (I used 1 1/2)
1 tablespoon balsamic vinegar
1 cup walnuts, deeply toasted (I used 1/2 cup)
3 tablespoons toasted walnut oil (or more olive oil) (I used 1 1/2 Tbl olive oil and pressed a few of the walnuts through a garlic press to release their oil)
1/4 cup goat cheese, crumbled (I left this out because I didn't exercise today... I can see where it would be really good and will use it as a treat on exercise days)

Preheat oven to 375.

Combine the farro, salt, and water in a large, heavy saucepan over medium heat. Cover and simmer, stirring occasionally, until the farro is tender, 45 minutes to an hour, or about half the time if you are using semi-pearled farro. Taste often as it is cooking, you want it to be toothsome and retain structure. Remove from heat, drain any excess water, and set aside.

While the farro is cooking toss the squash, onion, and thyme with the olive oil, balsamic vinegar and a couple big pinches of salt on a rimmed baking sheet. Arrange in a single layer and place in the oven for about 20 minutes. Toss the squash and onions every 5-7 minutes to get browning on multiple sides. Remove from the oven, let cool a bit, and mince just 1/2 of the red onions(I didn't do this).

In a large bowl gently toss the everything (except the goat cheese) with the toasted walnut oil (or olive oil). Taste and add a bit of salt if necessary. Serve family-style in a simple bowl or on a platter garnished with the goat cheese.

Serves 6 - 8 as a side, less as a main.

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