Recently, I tried farro for the first time. Farro is an ancient grain that is a nutritious, high fiber, low gluten choice that is gaining in popularity. You can add farro to soups in place of other grains. It has a chewy texture that kind of reminded me of pasta in my dish. I was pleasantly surprised by the taste and texture. As an added benefit, farro offers lots of fiber, B vitamins, zinc, iron and even a good dose of protein.
I tried farro in a side dish for a dinner party I hosted. I used a recipe published by Ina Garten, who never fails to deliver! I’m sure there are likely many healthier ways to cook the farro, but this recipe was worth making. You can swap the bacon for turkey bacon if you wish, but I used uncured natural bacon and it was simply delicious. Added such a nice flavor. For the parmesan, I used a goat version. It was filling and a hit with my crowd and I think it could actually serve as a meal on it’s own.
Baked Farro & Butternut Squash Recipe by Ina Garten
6 thick-cut slices applewood-smoked bacon – (*I didn’t use 6 slices, I used 3)
2 tablespoons good olive oil (*I used 1 tablespoon of avocado oil)
1 tablespoon unsalted butter
1 1/2 cups chopped yellow onion (1 large)
2 teaspoons chopped fresh thyme leaves
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
1 1/2 cups pearled farro
3 cups good chicken stock, preferably homemade (*I used organic chicken bone broth)
3 cups (3/4-to-1-inch-diced) peeled butternut squash
1/2 cup freshly grated parmesan cheese (*I used goat parmesan)
Preheat the oven to 375 degrees F.
Place the bacon on a baking rack set on a sheet pan and bake it for 20 to 30 minutes, until browned (it won’t be crisp). Dice the bacon.
Meanwhile, in a small (9-inch) Dutch oven, such as Le Creuset, heat the oil and butter over medium heat. Add the onion and cook for 6 to 8 minutes, until tender and starting to brown. Add the thyme, 2 teaspoons salt and 1 teaspoon pepper and cook for 1 minute. Add the farro and chicken stock and bring to a simmer. Place the squash on top of the farro mixture, cover, and bake in the same oven with the bacon for 30 minutes, until the squash and farro are tender. Check once during cooking and add a little chicken stock if it’s dry.
Sprinkle the bacon and parmesan on the squash and farro and bake uncovered for 15 to 20 minutes, until most of the liquid evaporates, the farro and butternut squash are tender, and the cheese has melted. Serve hot directly from the pot.
This stored nicely in my refrigerator for 2-3 days. I highly recommend you give it a try. I’ve also been experimenting with adding cooked farro to my salads instead of beans. I’d love to hear more about what you do with farro. Please leave a comment below.
Recipe credit – Ina Garten