I’ve never made risotto before. But, I found myself having some cut up squash on-hand and some farro in the cupboard, and I thought that I should make a nice fall dish. You may remember when I made the Roasted Maple-Chile Brussels Sprouts and Sweet Potatoes, which also had farro and a sweet potato/squash flavor. For this, I needed to pick up some mushrooms, and a better white wine, but beyond that, it was using a lot of ingredients I had available in the cupboard. I should also mention I was looking for something that was a little fall-into-winter in flavor, and comfort food, without the intense richness of a macaroni and cheese. This risotto hit the spot. The recipe came from Saveur’s The New Classics Cookbook, and called for butternut squash, but since I had acorn, I went with that.
Farro Risotto with Acorn Squash and Mushrooms
2 1/2 c cubed butternut squash, in 1/2-inch cubes
3 Tbsp olive oil
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste
1 Tbsp plus 1 tsp fresh sage, chopped
1 c farro
3 Tbsp unsalted butter
4 shallots, minced
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 sprig fresh thyme
1/2 c white wine
1 c chicken or vegetable stock
2 c chopped shiitake mushrooms
1 1/2 c shredded Parmigiano-Reggiano
1 Tbsp creme fraiche
Heat oven to 400 degrees. Toss squash with 2 Tbsp oil and season with salt and pepper. Place on a parchment-lined baking sheet and roast until edges are browned and crisp, 25-30 minutes. Remove from oven and sprinkle 1 Tbsp sage over still-hot squash.
Meanwhile, bring 4 c water to a boil over medium heat. Stir in farro and cook for 15 minutes. Drain, reserving 1 c of cooking liquid, and set aside.
In a saucepan, heat remaining 1 Tbsp oil over medium heat. Add shiitake mushrooms and saute until tender, about 3 minutes. Remove from pan and set aside.
Melt butter in the same pan over medium heat. Add shallots, garlic, and thyme and let cook until shallots are slightly caramelized, about 3 minutes. Add farro and stir, coating each kernel with butter. Pour in wine and simmer until evaporated.
Turn heat to low and begin alternately adding stock and farro cooking liquid a 1/4 c at a time, stirring continuously with each addition. Do not add more liquid until the previous 1/4 cup has been completely absorbed. This process should take 25-30 minutes. After last addition, stir until about two-thirds of the liquid has been absorbed, then stir in reserved mushrooms and squash and heat through.
Fold in Parmigiano and stir justuntill melted. Add creme fraiche and season with salt and pepper. Garnish with remaining 1 tsp sage.