Saturday, October 8, 2016

Farro with butternut and delicata squash, hazelnuts, spicy pickled raisins and pepitas

This is great fall and winter side dish or meal in itself. The spicy pickled raisins add a nice punch but you could leave them out or add them unpickled and the finished dish will still be great.

Ingredients (serves 6)

1.5 c farro
1 butternut squash
2 delicata squash
1 T chopped sage leaves
1 shallot, peeled and roughly chopped
1-3 cloves garlic, peeled and minced
1 T chopped thyme
1 c hazelnuts
1/2 c pickled raisins
1/2 c pepitas
juice of 1-2 lemons
handful chopped parsley
olive oil

Put farro in a pot and cover with water by at least 3-4 inches. Boil for 20-40 minutes until al dente. Farro can vary a lot on the cooking time; you want it to be somewhat soft when you bite down on it but not mushy. Drain and set aside.

Peel and seed butternut squash. Cut into 1 inch cubes. Slice delicata squash lengthwise and scoop out seeds. There is no need to peel this squash. Cut into half moon slices, 1/4 inch thick. Toss both squash with the shallot, garlic, thyme, sage, a couple tablespoons of olive oil and salt and pepper. Spread on one or two oiled baking sheets so they are not too crowded. If it's two crowded, they won't brown. Bake at 400 degrees for 40-50 minutes, until golden, stirring halfway to keep squash on outside of sheets from burning.

While squash is roasting, toast hazelnuts in another pan at the same time for 5-10 minutes, until a little darker in color and they start smelling fragrant. Let cool slightly. You can rub them with a dish towel to remove the skin but this is not necessary. Roughly chop and set aside.

Once squash is baked, toss everything together in a large bowl with lemon juice, chopped parsley and more olive oil (2-4 tablespoons, depending on taste.) Season with salt and pepper. Serve warm or at room temp.

Quick and spicy pickled raisins

Ingredients (makes 2-3 times what you will need for above recipe)

1 c golden raisins
1/2 c champagne or white wine vinegar
1/2 c water
1/2 serrano chile, sliced in to 1/8 inch thick coins
1 T sugar
1 t salt

Put raisins in a mason jar, old pickle jar or two old jam jars. Say jam jars five times fast. In a small saucepan, heat vinegar, water, chiles, sugar and salt. Once it comes to a boil and the salt and sugar disolve, pour over raisins. Let cool before using. Will keep in the fridge for a few weeks. You can use the chiles too as a spicy condiment - they're great on tacos.