Tuesday, November 16, 2010

A Comforting & Healthful Side for Thanksgiving

After a long day of work a few weeks ago, I returned home determined to unwind in the kitchen and create a simple, comforting dish with whatever ingredients I had lying around (truth be told, I was in pretty desperate need to get to the grocery store).  Thankfully, I had a few base staples and some remaining vegetables just waiting to be mixed and matched.  The result was a warm and hearty farro dish that would serve as a welcomed addition to any Thanksgiving spread (and it's perfect if you've got a vegetarian guest).  Fall flavors, thyme, antioxidant-rich butternut squash, mushrooms and a toothsome and high-fiber complex carb like farro made a perfect combination.  

Pantry Farro with Butternut Squash, Mushrooms, Thyme & Parmesan
Serves 6 to 8

1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
1/2 butternut squash, peeled, seeded and diced
1 small yellow onion, diced
2 to 3 celery stalks, diced
1 cup chopped mushrooms (a mix of cremini, hen of woods etc)
1 1/2 cups farro 
water (or low-sodium vegetable or chicken broth)
salt and fresh ground pepper to taste
1 1/2 teaspoons of fresh thyme
Parmesan cheese for serving, about 1/2 cup grated

In a heavy saucepan or Dutch oven, heat olive oil over medium-high heat, add butternut squash, onion and celery and saute for about 3 minutes.  Add in mushrooms and farro and cook another 1 to 2 minutes.  Cover farro mixture with water or broth (or half and half) by just under one inch.  Season with salt, pepper and thyme.  Bring to a boil, cover and reduce heat.  Simmer for about 25 minutes, stirring once, until all liquid has evaporated.  Fluff with a fork and let stand for 5 minutes.  Finish with grated Parmesan and a little additional cracked pepper.

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