Farro and Roasted Butternut Squash

This is one of my all-time favorites, adapted from 101 cookbooks and well worth the effort of dicing the squash!

2 cups farro (Italian wheat) or barley (presoaked), rinsed and drained
2 teaspoons unrefined sea salt
5 cups water (or stock)
3 cups butternut squash, cut into 1/2-inch cubes (cut bulbous part off squash then slice skin off with knife)
1 large onion cut into bite-size strips
1 tablespoon fresh thyme, minced
3 tablespoons olive oil
1 tablespoon balsamic vinegar
1 cup walnuts, lightly toasted
1 tablespoons toasted walnut oil (or more olive oil)
1/4 cup goat cheese or feta, crumbled

Preheat oven to 375 F.

Combine the farro, salt, and water in a large, heavy saucepan over medium heat. Cover and simmer, stirring occasionally, until the farro is tender, 45 minutes to an hour, or about half the time if you are using semi-pearled farro. Taste often as it is cooking, you want it to be chewy and retain structure. Remove from heat, drain any excess water, and set aside.

While the farro is cooking toss the squash, onion, and thyme with the olive oil, balsamic vinegar and a couple big pinches of salt on a rimmed baking sheet. Arrange in a single layer and place in the oven for about 20 minutes. Toss the squash and onions every 5-7 minutes to get browning on multiple sides. Remove from the oven and let cool a bit.

In a large bowl gently toss the everything (except the goat cheese) with the toasted walnut oil (or olive oil). Taste and add a bit of salt if necessary. crumble the goat cheese/feta on top and serve.

Serves 6 – 8 as a side, less as a main.

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