Winter Squash, Mushroom and Farro Salad with Arugula Pesto
Farro, 2 cupsSmall yellow onion, dicedWinter squash, 2 cups, dicedAssorted mushrooms (oyster, shiitake, etc.), 1 lb total, cleaned and sliced 3/4" thickArugula, 2 cups packed (plus more for pesto)Fresh rosemary, 1 tbsp finely chopped, dividedGarlic, 2 tsp minced, dividedOlive oil for roastingSalt & Pepper to taste
Arugula, 2 cups packedBasil, 2 cups packedParsley, 1 cup packedMint, 2 cups packedGreen onions (white and green parts), 1 cup slicedLime, 1 whole, zest + juiceOlive oil, 1 cupSalt & Pepper to taste
Method (preheat oven to 425 convection if you have it, or 450 conventional):
In a large sauce pot, sauté onions in a little olive oil over medium heat until lightly golden and translucent, about 5-8 minutes. Add farro and toast until nutty and fragrant, 2-3 minutes. Remove farro and onions to a bowl, and fill the same pot with 4 quarts of heavily salted water (should taste like ocean water); bring to a rapid boil.
Add the farro and onions back to the boiling water and cook, stirring and testing often, until al dente. (Cook's note: different kinds and brands of farro have different cooking times - this method ensures you get the texture you personally prefer).
When desired texture and tooth are achieved, drain water and spread farro on a sheet tray to cool and dry.
While farro is cooking, toss squash in olive oil to coat, then add half the rosemary and garlic. Add salt to taste. Spread on a foil lined sheet tray. On a separate tray, repeat this process with the mushrooms, remaining rosemary and garlic. (Cook's note: be sure your mushrooms are very dry before adding oil - this will ensure they get a nice golden caramelization). Roast veggies until squash is fork tender and beginning to brown (10-15 minutes), and mushrooms are nicely browned (5-8 minutes). Set aside to cool.
For the pesto, add all ingredients except olive oil to your food processor (you can also use a mortar and pestle if you have one for a more rustic texture). Pulse the ingredients as you add oil in a slow, thin stream. Stop processing as soon as you see a smooth, even texture. Adjust seasoning as desired.
To finish, toss the farro (it should be room temperature, not hot, so as not to discolor the pesto) with pesto, adding a few tablespoons at a time, until well coated. Add cooled squash and mushrooms and toss again until incorporated. You can either add the arugula into the mixture, use it as a base on your serving dish, or as a garnish on top.
The base of this dish, farro dressed with arugula pesto, works beautifully with all kinds of seasonal ingredients, and can be a hearty go-to year round.
· Spring: sugar snap or snow peas, shaved radish, fennel, and almonds· Summer: grilled squash or zucchini, heirloom tomatoes, grilled corn, torn basil and crumbled goat cheese· Fall: diced apples, roasted sweet potato, caramelized onions, and pecans