Thursday, November 3, 2011

Farro Risotto with Butternut Squash

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I expect my next few food posts to feature orange colored food. Because it's that time of the year -- the time when we get orange produce like sweet potato, butternut squash, pumpkin and, well, orange. Today, we have a farro risotto with butternut squash. Farro has less starch (but more protein and fiber) than rice. So farro risotto doesn't have that creamy, viscous consistency that a rice risotto has. But it's slightly nutty and chewy. So, it's different and good for you. Of course, you can always replace the farro with rice if you want.

You'll need:
  • 2 cups of small diced butternut squash (1/3-inch cubes), about half of a medium butternut squash
  • 2 cups farro
  • 4 tablespoons butter or butter subsitute (I use Earth Balance), divided
  • 1/2 cup chopped walnuts (toasted pine nuts would be good here too)
  • 1 shallot, minced
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 teaspoon red pepper flakes
  • 4-6 sage leaves
  • 1/2 cup dry white wine
  • juice from half a lemon
  • 3 cups vegetable stock
  • salt to taste
  • chopped parsley for garnish (optional)
  • grated Parmesan cheese for garnish (optional)
In a sauce pan, bring vegetable stock to boil. Keep the stock hot and simmering. In a separate large skillet fitted with a lid, melt 3 tablespoons of butter or butter substitute over medium low heat. Add shallot and sweat until softened, about 2 minutes. Add garlic, red pepper flakes and sage leaves. Toss gently until fragrant, about a minute. Add diced butternut squash. Allow it to cook for just a couple of minutes. Season with salt. Add white wine. Bring liquid to simmer and reduce.

Gently mix in farro. Add a cup of hot vegetable stock. Cover and simmer undisturbed for 5-8 minutes. Remove lid and stir. Allow the liquid to reduce. Add another cup of hot vegetable stock. Cover and simmer undisturbed for 5-8 minutes. Remove lid and stir. Allow liquid to reduce a bit. Add the final cup of hot vegetable stock with lemon juice and chopped walnuts. Season with salt. Gently stir. Cover and simmer for another 5 to 8 minuets. Remove lid and stir. Allow the liquid to almost completely evaporate. Stir in a tablespoon of butter or butter substitute or grated Parmesan cheese (optional). Garnish with chopped parsley and/or grate Parmesan cheese. Serve immediately.

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