I rarely cook from recipes and to be honest even less often I repeat the same exact dish twice (and unless I write it down or take a picture, I don't even remember what I used, so extremely hard to replicate!).
A farro bowl is a great example of that. I make it ever so often, but never the same. Sometimes I don't even use farro if I don't have it. Veggies and herbs are always what is at peak freshness (or more likely what is in the fridge and about to go bad...)
So feel free to use this recipe as an inspiration and a base for whatever you happen to have in your pantry and fridge or whatever strikes your fancy when you load your basket at the farmers market.
A few tips:
- To get the best taste our of farro, toast it in a dry pan for a few minutes. you can skip this if in a hurry but it does give a deeper flavor to the dish.
- You can really use any combo of squashes and pumpkins here. Below is what looked best at the farmers market that day
- When roasting the veggies - GIVE THEM SPACE. They need to caramelize and soften at the same time. I used 3 sheet pans here.
- When dealing with super-flavorful veggies like these squashes and melt-in-your-mouth cauli, keep the dressing super simple: a little acid, fresh herbs and of course the best green-grassy tasting olive oil to complement it all.
Farro Grain Bowl with Squash and Cauliflower
1 honeynut squash cut in half
1 acorn squash cut in half
1 delicata squash cut into ½” rounds, seeds removed
1 large yellow zucchini cut into ½” rounds
1 whole garlic cut in half
1 small cauliflower separated into florets
A bunch of thyme sprigs
Olive oil for roasting
1 cup farro
2 cups vegetable stock
1 tsp salt
2 sprigs of rosemary
Zest and juice from one large lemon
5 tbsp olive oil
3 tbsp chopped fine herbs (selection of rosemary, parsley, chives and thyme)
Salt and pepper to taste
Edible flowers, extra herbs, and olive oil for serving
Preheat the oven to 400 degrees and use the convection setting to allow roasting on multiple levels.
Line 2-3 baking sheets to allow the vegetables space to caramelize and not just steam.
Sprinkle with salt and drizzle olive oil to lightly coat all veggies, and roast with a few sprigs of thyme per pan.
Place garlic cut side down, on the same pan as the cauliflower. These will need about 30-35 minutes, turning the cauliflower florets once but keeping garlic on the cut side.
Place squashes and zucchini on the other baking sheet(s) - large squashes skin side up. These will roast for about 20-25 minutes until slightly browned and fork tender, turning the delicata and zucchini once.
When veggies are ready, remove from oven and let cool. You can combine the ones that need some extra oven time to be perfectly soft and caramelized.
Toast the farro in a dry pan for 2-3 minutes, continually stirring, to intensify the nutty flavors.
Transfer to a medium stockpot, cover with stock, add salt and rosemary.
Cover and bring to a boil. Reduce the heat and simmer till all liquid is absorbed and farro is tender but still chewy (about 20-30 minutes). Add a bit more water if necessary.
Drain farro if necessary when ready and transfer to a large mixing bowl.
Assembly of the bowl
Delicata is best eaten with the peel! Reserve a few delicata rings to top the dish and cut the rest into squares.
The other large squashes can be used with the peel or scooped out depending on preference. Cut them into bite-size pieces.
Squeeze out the garlic from its peel.
Add all veggies to the mixing bowl. Discard the thyme.
Add all dressing ingredients directly into the mixing bowl. Mix to combine and adjust seasoning.
Transfer to a serving platter, top with delicata rings, extra herbs and flowers, and a drizzle of your best olive oil.