Top | Vegetarian Main Dishes

Farro "Risotto" with Roasted Butternut Squash

(recipe, Kim Carlson)

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Nutty farro takes the place of arborio rice in this adaptation of risotto. Combined with chunks of roasted butternut and a healthy grating of Parmesan, it's a rich and satisfying main course.


  1. 1 medium butternut squash
  2. 3 Tbsp. extra-virgin olive oil
  3. 3 to 4 cups stock (chicken or vegetable)
  4. 1 small red onion, finely chopped
  5. 1½ cups farro (see Note)
  6. ¼ cup white wine
  7. 2 tsp. balsamic vinegar
  8. ½ cup Parmesan cheese, freshly grated, plus more for garnish
  9. Parsley for garnish


  1. Preheat oven to 425 degrees.
  2. Peel the butternut squash, remove the seeds, and dice it into small-bite-sized nuggets. Toss them with 1 tablespoon of the olive oil, and spread them in a single layer on a baking sheet. Roast for 20 minutes, then, using a spatula, turn the squash; you want the pieces evenly browned. Roast for another 20 minutes. Keep warm while you're preparing the farro.
  3. On a back burner, heat the broth in a covered saucepan; it needs to be hot but not boiling. Check for seasoning; you may want to add salt to taste.
  4. In a wide, deep pot over medium flame, heat 2 tablespoons of the olive oil; sauté the onion for 8 minutes or so until it softens, but don't let it brown (reduce the heat if that starts to happen). Add the farro and stir well; cook this for a couple of minutes, then add the wine and stir occasionally as the farro absorbs the wine.
  5. Using a big ladle, scoop about ¾ cup of the hot stock and add it to the farro. Stir gently and let it simmer until the liquid is absorbed. You don't have to tend it constantly, but don't forget about it. In 8 or 10 minutes, add another ladleful of stock. Let the farro cook this way for 30 or 40 minutes (20 if you're using pearled farro), until it reaches a chewiness you like. When a taste tells you that it's getting close, stir in the balsamic vinegar. Continue heating for a few more minutes.
  6. Just before serving, add ½ cup of Parmesan and the warm roasted squash; stir to combine. Garnish with parsley and serve, passing more cheese at the table.


Unpearled or semi-pearled farro is pleasantly chewy, but the pearled version cooks faster. If you wish, use pearled barley in place of the farro.