F is for are you forking kidding me? I stopped about 10 minutes out from my house on my bike ride home this afternoon to take off my rain jacket, as it was sunny out and I was feeling overwarm. Seriously not 60 seconds after I took off again, it started raining. Not sprinkling. POURING. And in the 9 minutes or so between there and home, the rain turned briefly into freezing rain. F is for fork I'm forking freezing, and F is for not fun! (But pretty funny. I started laughing when it started raining... the timing was just so perfect with regard to taking my jacket off.)
Aaaaanyway, between my mini weather adventure and just the long week I've had, I was feeling pretty worn out tonight. I had collected a couple of fancy schmancy farro recipes and then when I got home... I decided to just ditch them all and try putting something simple together with.
This wasn't all driven by laziness-- I was also really curious about farro and didn't want to accidentally mask it in too many things. Have you ever had farro before? I hadn't. Here's what it looks like uncooked:
I had read that it has a sort of nutty flavor and that it (correspondingly) paired well with nuts. I bought a ton of hazelnuts yesterday for something else and so when I cast about the pantry, I saw them right away and was like oh man, gotta do farro and hazelnuts. And squash, which I also saw mentioned alongside farro several times on the interwubs. Here is what I put together and a rough recipe:
Farro with roasted squash and hazelnuts
4c vegetable broth
1 c hazelnuts
1/2 a large winter squash-- I used half a Thelma Sanders squash-- peeled and cut into 1 inch cubes
1/2 a large red onion, diced
1-2 tbsps of olive oil
splash of balsamic vinegar
zest of 1 small orange
juice of 1 small orange
hearty sprinkle salt
good sprinkle black pepper
1. Preheat oven to 375F.
2. Put farro and broth in a saucepan and bring to a boil. Reduce heat to a simmer and cover. Cook for 45 minutes or so, checking around 30 minutes and every 5 or 10 minutes after that-- you don't want the farro to cook so long that it gets mushy.
3. When the farro is done (chewable but not mushy), drain any excess broth in a colander, then return farro to the pot. Remove from heat and set aside.
4. Once farro is simmering away on the stove and oven is preheated, put the hazelnuts in a baking dish and pop in the oven for 10-15 minutes, in order to loosen skins. They're ready when they start to smell really good.
5. Dump hazelnuts out on a clean dish towel, then pull towel up into a bundle around them. Rub nuts vigorously with towel.
(Alternately: get the hazelnut skins off whatever other awesome way you know to do this.) Some skin remaining is okay, you will never successfully get it all off and for this dish, it really does not matter.
6. Chop/crush hazelnuts a bit-- not into a fine powder, just enough that they're not huge-- I found whacking them with the flat of a knife to work best.
7. When the hazelnuts are done in the oven (so around step 5), put the squash and following ingredients (red onion, olive oil, balsamic, orange zest, orange juice, salt, pepper) into a baking dish and toss to coat.
8. Put the baking dish in the oven and bake until squash is tender. Mine took about 45 minutes but this will vary depending on type of squash and size of your chunks, etc.
9. When squash is tender, combine it, the hazelnuts, and the cooked farro in the saucepan the farro is in. Stir to combine. Eat!
How was it? Pretty good. Pretty hearty and comforting. Next time I think I'd add something sweet in there... dried cranberries? Currants? It just seemed like it needed little sweet nuggets. I would also up the orange, too... either use two small oranges or one big ol' navel orange or something. I could only occasionally taste the orange, and it was great when it showed up, but not present often enough.
The farro was quite delicious on its own and stood up well alongside the other components. It really was nicely paired with the hazelnut-- they both tasted wonderful together. Earthy and nutty and savory and yum. Josh and I both really liked it, so we'll probably have it again even though it was expensive as hell for a grain ($3/lb out of the bulk bins!).
Here's a picture of the plain cooked farro:
I'm surprised to report that the Emperor ate a TON of it. I told him it was rice so I wouldn't have to hear "no NO FARROOOOOOO" and either it just looked so bland and inoffensive that he went for it or he was in a rice mood or both. I took a ton of pictures of him eating it but he was just so into it... first shovelling into it with a spoon and then, later, scooping it up with his hands (he's 2 people! he's still working on silverware!)... that most of my pictures came out pretty blurry and unusable. So today's bonus picture is kind of dull, but I like how cherubic and fake-babylike he looks in it:
Okay! I think I'm going to read just a couple more MoFo blogs tonight and then crash into bed... until tomorrow, F is for Farewell!