Emmer with Squash

Dear Fellow Foodies:Everyone I talk to lately has been trying to eat more whole grains and at least have one “meatless Monday”. As we get older, it becomes more important to watch what we eat. But nobody wants to give up flavor. The following recipe comes from my Against the Grain class. This is flavorful and easy to make. It also heats up well for leftovers.

Emmer is also known as Farro in Italy, is a low yielding, awned wheat. This ancient grain was sometimes incorrectly called Spelt. It is not available fresh only dried and is prepared by cooking in liquid until soft, but still chewey. It may be eaten plain, though it is often used as an ingredient in dishes such as salads and soups. We like it in the following preparation. This is cooked in a similar manner as risotto. The results are a “crunchewey” grain.

Emmer with Squash
  • 4 tablespoons unsalted butter, divided
  • 1 small squash, peeled, halved, seeded, cut into 1/2″ cubes
  • 1 medium zucchini cut into small cubes
  • Flake salt (such as Maldon), freshly ground pepper
  • 1/2 bunch red Russian or other kale (about 5 ounces), center stems removed, leaves torn – dried in oven for 20-30 min at 250F
  • 1 tablespoon Toasted Onion Avocado Oil
  • 3/4 cup Emmer (farro)
  • 1/4 cup diced red onion
  • 1 small garlic clove, very thinly sliced
  • 1/4 cup dry white wine or Vermouth
  • 3 cups vegetable stock, hot
  • Hot water (if needed)
  • 1/4 cup finely grated Parmesan

Preheat oven to 375°F. Toss cut squash and zucchini in the toasted onion avocado oil, add salt and pepper. Roast squashes, spread out on a rimmed baking sheet. Roast until tender, 30-45 minutes. Reserve

Lower oven to 250F. Remove ribs from kale. Place kale on parchment lined baking sheet and dry in oven for 20-30 minutes or until crisp. Remove from oven and reserve. The kale will crisp as it cools, don’t overcook or it will become bitter.

Heat Toasted Avocado oil in a large ovenproof skillet over medium heat. Add farro; toss to coat. Cook until lightly browned. Reserve farro in a separate bowl.

Melt 2 tablespoons butter in same skillet over medium heat. Add onion and cook, stirring occasionally, until translucent, about 4 minutes. Add garlic; stir until aromatic, about 2 minutes. Add wine; increase heat to high. Stir until almost evaporated (this is called au sec or almost dry),roughly 2 minutes. Add browned farro and 1/2 cup warm stock mixture. Stir until almost all liquid is absorbed, about 3 minutes. Continue cooking, adding broth by 1/2 cupfuls and allowing broth to be absorbed between additions, until farro is tender, about an hour. You may need additional stock or water depending on the farro. The Organic Bluebird Grains Farro we carry is very freshly dried and packaged from a local Northwest area farm.

Fold in baked squash and zucchini, add 1 tablespoon butter (for flavor), and grated cheese; stir gently until butter and cheese are melted and vegetables are heated through, about 2 minutes. Season to taste with salt and pepper. Crush dried kale on top. Serve immediately.

If you want this to be vegan, omit the butter and cheese.

Happy Cooking Everyone!Constance

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