Anyone for a Little Squash?

Hi. How are you? I know, it’s been a hard week.

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I’ve taken to consoling myself with my favorite fall-winter vegetable: squash. I’ve been also feeling a little under the weather, and this added stress has not done good things to my protein intake, this attempt at adding grains back into my diet was meant to correct that oversight.

This was an easy grain bowl to throw together with minimal active time. It tasted good and was quite versatile. I wouldn’t have minded adding balsamic or some other vinaigrette to the finished product, or adding chopped kale or spinach to make a grain salad.

I often find myself turning to Maria Speck’s most recent book, Simply Ancient Grains,  for advise on how to cook my various collection of grains. While you can certainly quick cook farro, she recommended pre-soaking overnight; I didn’t have that sort of time (because I don’t think my cooking through all the time) and so I opted to soak for 2 hours while I prepped and roasted the squash, which worked out pretty well. Everything comes together at the end in the same pan and can be sprinkled with parmesan (or not, for my vegan friends) and served hot. Truth be told, I combined everything and then got sidetracked, so we ate it closer to room temperature which was still delicious, though this is also good cold the next day.

Ingredients:

  • 1 cup farro (media is what I used, I think, though I am admittedly confused when it comes to farro and its derivatives)
  • 1 small butternut squash (any fleshy squash will do)
  • 1 small onion, sliced or small dice (I only used half that I had left in the fridge)
  • 2 small, or 1 normal sized apple, sliced very thin (I used a mandolin)
  • 2-3 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1/3 cup whole hazelnuts
  • 1/4 cup parmesan, to taste, optional
  • olive oil
  • salt, pepper, spices of your preference (I used rosemary and coriander)

Method:

  1. Begin by soaking farro (skip this if you don’t have the time, farro can be quickly cooked without presoaking, though it will be easier to digest if you soak it first) about  2 hours, overnight if you have the foresight.
  2. Preheat oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit.
  3. While farro is soaking, peel and cut squash into 1/2″ cubes, place on baking sheet. Drizzle squash with olive oil, sprinkle with salt and pepper (you don’t need to go nuts here, you will continue to salt other ingredients as well), as well as coriander (about half a teaspoon) and dried rosemary (about 1/4 teaspoon). Using your hands, coat squash pieces evenly with oil and spices, this is a great opportunity to give yourself a bit of a salt scrub in the sink as you wash up. Place squash in oven to roast, 30-45 minutes, use a spatula to stir after 20 minutes. Roast squash to your preference, I like mine slightly crispy on the outside with the skin beginning to brown. Turn off oven and allow squash to rest.
  4. While farro is soaking and squash is roasting, add 2 teaspoons of olive oil to a large sauté pan or skillet over medium or medium-low heat, then add onion and sauté a minute or two. Add salt and pepper to taste, perhaps 1/4 teaspoon of honey if you’re feeling spicy.
  5. Once onion is fragrant and beginning to soften, add apple slices and sauté another 2-3 minutes. Add the garlic and stir, remove from heat before apple turns to mush. Allow to sit in pan while you cook the farro.
  6. In a medium pot, heat 2 cups of water over medium hear, meanwhile drain farro. Add farro to water, bring to a simmer and cook until liquid is absorbed and farro is tender, about 30 minutes (I covered my farro the first 15 minutes). You could salt the farro water here, I didn’t to keep our salt intake intact.
  7. While farro is cooking, toast hazelnuts over low heat in a small sauté pan until fragrant and beginning to brown but not burn. Roughly chop hazelnuts with a knife.
  8. Drain farro, shake out excess water and add to skillet with apple/onion mixture, stir to combine. Add squash and hazelnuts and stir to combine. Taste and adjust salt and pepper at this point. Finish with parmesan. Enjoy!

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I hope that you enjoy the autumn inspired bowl! If you do decide to make this recipe, please make an effort to buy the best produce you can, local if you are able.

Here’s to breathing, living, growing, and deciding how the hell we’re going to change the planet.

Until next time,
Dretta

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