Winter Veggie Bake with Farro

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Depending on where you live, winter is the time of root vegetables and squash. Baking them with nutty farro is a hardy and heartwarming way to enjoy them.

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If you aren’t familiar with farro, it is an “ancient grain”, a type of wheat, very nutty and somewhat chewy in nature. It is boiled in water (usually 1-part farrow to 2.5-parts water, plus a little salt). Depending on the type and how much it has been processed (“pearled”, removing part of its husk) will determine its cooking time. It’s a very hands-off process, much like rice, so have no fear if you’ve never made it. It’s very forgiving. Just follow the package instructions and you’ll be fine.

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If I’m making a single winter or root vegetable, I often give them a little splash of olive oil and salt and roast them at a high temperature. But for this recipe, since I’m using three vegetables and combining it with a grain, I prefer to treat it like a casserole – all together and baked in a dish. And what the heck – let’s add a little gratin (breadcrumbs and cheese) to dress it up a little.

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Can you swap in and out other winter and root vegetables? Sure! The trick is to think through baking times and dice-sizes. If all vegetables cook at the same time, and are the same size, you’ll be good to go.

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NOTE: Once baked, this also makes a great soup. Just add a couple of large scoops to a bowl of hot broth.

Winter Veggie Bake with Farro

  • Servings: 12
  • Difficulty: Easy
  • Print

Ingredients

  • 1 1/2 cups dry farro
  • 2 heaping cups diced butternut or other squash (1/2-inch – 3/4-inch dice)
  • 2 heaping cups diced waxy potatoes (skins on is fine if they’re well-scrubbed) (1/2-inch – 3/4-inch dice)
  • 2 fennel bulbs, cored and diced (1/2-inch – 3/4-inch dice)
  • 3/4 cup chicken or vegetable stock
  • 1 1/4 teaspoons kosher or sea salt (not iodized table salt), plus more for farro (according to package instructions)
  • 1/4 teaspoon hot red pepper flakes or cayenne pepper (optional)
  • 3/4 cup fresh breadcrumbs
  • 1/2 cup finely grated Parmesan cheese
  • 1/4 cup butter diced into small cubes, plus extra for greasing baking pan

Directions

  1. Pre-heat oven to 375F/190C with rack in the upper third of the oven
  2. In a saucepan on the stovetop, prepare farro according to package instructions. You made need to drain any excess water. Set aside once cooked
  3. While farro is cooking, wash, dry, and dice all vegetables 1/2-inch – 3/4-inch. Place in large mixing bowl
  4. Add cooked farro and chicken or vegetable stock to mixing bowl and mix until thoroughly combined
  5. Butter a 13-inch X 9-inch (33 x 23 CM) baking dish. Add the vegetable/farro mixture to the baking dish and lightly pat down and level. Place in the pre-heated oven covered with aluminum foil for 60 minutes
  6. While the dish is baking, combine cheese and breadcrumbs in a small bowl. Cube butter in small pieces
  7. After 60 minutes, remove baking dish from oven and remove the foil (leave the oven on), and carefully and evenly add the cheese/breadcrumb mixture over the top of the baking dish and then distribute the butter cubes. Remembering to use potholders, return the baking dish to the oven – this time uncovered – for another 20 minutes or until the breadcrumbs and cheese are golden brown
  8. Remove from oven and let rest for 10 minutes before serving

 

Author: gregnelsoncooks

Visit weekly for original and adapted recipes as well as cooking tips to make your kitchen life easier — and more delicious! I’ll include simple, straight forward instructions along with recipes that are truly worth your time making. And, recipes that elevate the familiar and introduce you to the new and unexpected.

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