Farro with Winter Squash and Mushrooms
Serve this warm as a side dish or at room temperature as a salad. This would not be out of place on the Thanksgiving table.
1 cup Riseria Campanini Farro
1 1/2 cups cubed winter squash
3 tablespoons of extra virgin olive oil
8 oz. mushrooms, cleaned, sliced if large, whole if small
2 medium shallots or the white part of 2 medium leeks, thinly sliced
1 clove of garlic mashed and minced fine
¼ teaspoon thyme leaves
Pinch each of sea salt and pepper
2 oz. Marsala or sweet vermouth
Extra virgin olive oil or A L' Olivier hazelnut oil to taste
2 tablespoons pepitas
¼ cup toasted hazelnuts, chopped
½ teaspoon fresh thyme leaves
INGREDIENTS for SPICE BLEND
½ teaspoon whole coriander
½ teaspoon whole cumin
¼ teaspoon cracked black peppercorns (seeds of paradise would be brilliant)!
¼ teaspoon sea salt
¼ teaspoon smoked Pimentón de La Vera
1/8 teaspoon ground allspice
1/8 teaspoon ground cinnamon
Make the farro.
Boil farro in 3 quarts of lightly salted water for 20- 30 minutes, strain. It should be al dente. Cook it a few minutes longer if you prefer a softer texture.
Make the spice blend.
Heat a small pan over medium heat. When it is hot add the cumin, coriander, seeds of paradise or black peppercorns. Turn the heat off. Shake the spices in the pan until they are fragrant. Grind them in a mortar and pestle with a pinch of sea salt. Stir in the allspice, cinnamon and pimenton.
Make the squash.
Steam or boil it till just soft, 10–15 minutes. Drain and put it in a bowl. Toss it in a bit of olive oil, dust with the spice blend.
Make the mushrooms.
Sauté mushrooms in olive oil with the shallot, garlic and a pinch of thyme and a crack of pepper. Don’t brown the mushrooms. Deglaze them with a shot of Marsala or vermouth, if the spirit moves you.
Assemble the salad.
Gently combine the squash, mushrooms and farro in a shallow bowl with the oil. Stir in the pepitas and hazelnuts. Taste for salt and pepper. Sprinkle with thyme leaves.