November 10, 2010 § 3 Comments
Since I’ve been trying to blog on a more regular basis, I’ve loosely assigned topics to each day, such as “Pretty Things” Tuesday, to give me a bit of structure. I thought I’d devote Wednesday’s posts to my baking
fiascos adventures. However, last night I made this butternut squash dish from the 101 Cookbooks archives and I just have to share it with you today. And I insist that you make it for dinner tonight. Or at least sometime this week. My wacky pumpkin chocolate chip cookie recipe will have to wait until tomorrow.
I’ve made this dish before, but with barley since I couldn’t find farro*. It was good with the barley, but yesterday I found semi-pearled farro in my natural foods store and, wow, it was great. The texture is chewy and hearty. I could easily imagine it being just as tasty as a lightly sweetened breakfast cereal: the texture would hold up mixed in some plain yogurt with honey and berries. Or with a splash of almond milk, a bit of maple syrup, and some raisins and sunflower seeds. What I’m saying is that it’s a versatile grain.
I love the velvety, caramely flavor that the splash of balsamic vinegar gives to the squash and onions while they’re roasting.
And don’t even get me started on the toasted walnuts. SO GOOD. They cannot be left out. As Heidi mentions in her post, she wanted this recipe to be all about the walnuts.
And the goat cheese? Please. It goes without saying that it’s the perfect addition.
The flavors and textures in this dish cavort and mingle and end up being perfection in a bowl.
Farro and Roasted Butternut Squash
From Heidi at 101 Cookbooks
If you are pressed for time, opt for a lightly or semi-pearled farro (actually easier to find in some places), which will cut the cooking time for the grains down to about 20 minutes. Barley, both hulled and pearled, would make a nice substitution if you are having trouble finding farro. Also, I found the beautiful red spring onions at the farmers’ market but regular red onions will work well, and will be much easier to find.
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 (try putting the whole squash in the oven while it’s preheating (about 10 minutes). The squash will soften a bit and make it easier to cut – pwa)
1 large red onion cut into 1/8ths
1 tablespoon fresh thyme, minced
3 tablespoons olive oil
1 tablespoon balsamic vinegar
1 cup walnuts, deeply toasted
3 tablespoons toasted walnut oil (or more olive oil)
1/4 cup goat cheese, crumbled
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. (I brought my pot to a boil, reduced heat to simmer, covered, and the farro was a nice texture after about 15 minutes – pwa) 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. (I let mine roast for nearly an hour – pwa) Toss the squash and onion 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.
In a large bowl gently toss 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.
*If your grocery store has Ethnic Food aisles, you may want to look in the Italian aisle for farro.
November 8, 2010 § 1 Comment
Oh my goodness. The combination of the time change yesterday and the wintry weather this morning has made my head feel like it’s filled with sludge. I just cannot get it together today!
We had a fun, busy weekend. How about you? The three of us went to a fall-themed potluck party on Saturday and I went to a baby shower yesterday, where I got to hang out with my mom and sisters while drinking wine, eating good food, and ogling precious baby girl clothes.
On Saturday I contributed Herb-Roasted Root Vegetables and Pumpkin Chocolate Chip Cookies to the potluck. The vegetables were an unexpected hit. Brussels sprouts are a polarizing vegetable, don’t you think? Some people (like me) love them, while others seriously dislike them. I make this dish all the time in the fall– it’s seasonal, easy and delicious. It’s perfect to bring to potlucks and would also be a nice addition to your Thanksgiving spread.
Herb-Roasted Root Vegetables
From Giada De Laurentiis, Everyday Italian (p. 201)
4 medium carrots (about 1 pound,) peeled and cut crosswise into 1 1/2-inch-thick slices
4 medium parsnips (about 1 pound), peeled and cut crosswise into 1 1/2-inch-thick slices
8 ounces Brussels sprouts, halved
1 large sweet potato (about 8 ounces), peeled and cut crosswise into 1 1/2-inch-thick slices
1/3 cup extra-virgin olive oil
1 tablespoon dried oregano
1 tablespoon dried basil
1 teaspoon dried thyme
1 teaspoon dried rosemary
2 teaspoons kosher salt, plus more to taste
2 teaspoons freshly ground black pepper, plus more to taste
Position the rack in the center of the oven and preheat the oven to 400 degrees F. In a large bowl, toss the carrots, parsnips, Brussels sprouts, sweet potato, oil and herbs with 2 teaspoons each of kosher salt and pepper to coat. Arrange the vegetables evenly on a large, heavy baking sheet. Roast the vegetables until tender and golden, stirring occasionally, about 35 minutes. Season with more salt and pepper to taste. (The vegetables can be made up to 4 hours ahead. Rewarm in the oven before serving.) Transfer the vegetables to a platter and serve.
I loosely follow this recipe. I often include more sweet potatoes. Sometimes I throw in broccoli, red potatoes and/or red onion chunks. For the herbs, I’ll usually use an Italian Seasonings mix and eyeball the amount rather than measuring. Sometimes I’ll sprinkle on Gomasio instead of kosher salt.
No matter what combination I do, it always comes out delicious! I don’t think you can go wrong with roasted vegetables. In fact, they taste even better if they get a little burned!