If it’s fall it’s time for butternut squash! This delicious recipe was actually from the bag of farro (Nature’s Earthly Choice organic Italian pearled farro). I made it for our birthday party at Aunt Mary’s and it was a hit. Everyone else added salt because I didn’t add it to make it work with my nutritarian diet. I think this would be great with an orange squeezed over it or some balsamic reduction to brighten it up and add a little more liquid (I also omitted the oil called for in the recipe).
12 oz pearled farro (2 cups), rinsed and drained
5 cups vegetable broth (low sodium) or water, or a combination – I used 2 c broth, 3 c water
pinch kosher salt
1 large butternut squash, peeled and cut in 1/2″ dice
1 large red onion, cut into eighths
1 tbsp fresh thyme
2 tsp olive oil (to rub on the pan for squash)
1 bag baby spinach (6 oz)
1 cup walnuts, toasted
1 cup dried cranberries (I used a brand that was sweetened with apple juice, not sugar)
Preheat oven to 375 F. Combine the farro, salt, and water in a large saucepan over medium heat. Cover and simmer, stirring occasionally, until the farro is tender, 15-25 minutes. Taste often as it is cooking, you want it to be al dente, but tender. Remove from heat, drain excess water, and toss with baby spinach in a large mixing bowl to wilt spinach. Set aside.
While the farro is cooking toss the squash, onion, and thyme with the olive oil [or just rub oil into pan with paper towel], and salt [optional] in a large glass pyrex 9×13 pan or a roasting pan. Cover with foil and bake in the oven for 30 minutes. Remove foil cover and cook for an additional hour, turning the squash every 30 minutes. Remove from oven , let cool a bit, and chop up the cooked red onions.
Add squash and onions to bowl and gently toss everything together, including walnuts and cranberries. Optional: squeeze an orange on top and toss, or add balsamic vinegar and oil to boost the flavor. A fig balsamic vinegar would be excellent with this. Taste and season as necessary.
Changes from the original recipe: the orig. recipe calls for 3 tbsp olive oil and 1 tbsp balsamic vinegar to cook with the squash and onions, 3 tbsp walnut oil for dressing, and 1/4 cup goat cheese – they don’t call for cranberries, but I like the combination with cranberries better. I omitted all of the oil except a tiny bit, just enough to rub on the pan to prevent sticking.