Farro With Roasted Squash, Feta and Mint

Every year on January 1st, we have a big New Year’s Day party and celebration of Jared’s birthday. We feed the crowd traditional New Year’s Day foods including Hoppin’ John (Black-eyed peas) and collard greens and cornbread with butter and honey and a variety of desserts including of course, a birthday cake for Jared. The cake is typically carrot – his favorite – and this year it was really delicious and moist and wonderful AND Disa Fink (See, Batch-33, July 20, 2012 for information about Disa and Wintercoat Brewery), who is in town, frosted it so it was also VERY PRETTY! (See, Batch-33.com, September 18, 2012 for carrot cake recipe).

I love the day because so many of my friends are together and over the years they have started to know each other and it’s nice to see. Also, this year I felt especially grateful to everyone who came – my dear friends who have been so supportive and sustaining after my head-surgery and during my ongoing recovery. Three-months out and I’m feeling pretty fine – THANK YOU EVERYONE!

SO…… Theresa and her husband Alan walk in with this gorgeous squash dish. A hush came over the room followed by ooohhhs and ahhhhhhs and then “may I please have the recipe”? And after eating the squash, people were even more effusive. It is honestly, truly, delicious. Make it.

Farro With Roasted Squash, Feta and Mint (from NYT (Melissa Clark) - via Theresa Karanik) Preheat oven to 450

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Ingredients (For the Squash):

3 Tbsp olive oil

2 tsp sugar

¾ tsp ground cinnamon

¾ tsp fine sea salt, or more

¼ tsp black pepper

1/8 tsp cayenne

3 pounds of winter squash. We used Kabocha (Sunshine red) but you can also use carnival or butternut, seeded and cut into ½ Inch thick slices. Leave the peels on.

Ingredients (For the Farro):

1 ½ cups apple cider

2 ½ tsp kosher salt, more to taste

1 ½ cups faro

2 Tbsp apple cider vinegar, more to taste

2 garlic cloves, grated on a microplane or minced

½ tsp black pepper

7 Tbsp olive oil

3 oz feta cheese, crumbled (leave this out if you’re vegan)

Fresh mint or arugula leaves, or both

Directions:

Heat oven to 450°. Prepare the squash: In a large bowl, mix together olive oil, sugar, cinnamon, salt, pepper and cayenne. Add squash and toss well to coat with the spiced oil. Lay the squash pieces out flat on one or two rimmed baking sheets.

Roast squash until the bottom is golden – about 10 or 15 minutes.

Carefully turn the pieces over and continue to roast until tender – another 10 to 20 minutes.

While the squash is roasting, make the Farro.

In a medium pot, bring the apple cider, 2 cups water, and the salt to a simmer. Add faro and simmer until water is absorbed and the faro tender – about 20 to 30 minutes. If liquid evaporates before the faro is done, add a little more water. If there’s water left over, drain it.

In a large bowl, whisk together vinegar, garlic and pepper. Whisk in olive oil. Add farro and toss well, adding more oil and/or salt if needed.

To serve – spoon the Farro onto a platter and top with the squash, feta, mint and/or arugula and a dizzle of olive oil.

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