TT Test Kitchen Tip: Farro, a nutty, ancient grain, takes the place of rice in this rustic take on risotto. The creamy mixture is served in an acorn-squash bowl, which allows guests to scrape more of the fragrant roasted squash into the risotto as they eat the dish.
Acorn Squash Farro Risotto
Yield: 4 servings
Cook Time: 2 hours, 30 minutes
1 cup farro
4 cups water, divided
2 medium acorn squash, cut in half, seeds and pulp discarded
3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil, divided
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
⅓ cup heavy cream
⅔ cup coarsely grated Parmigiano-Reggiano, plus more for serving
2 tablespoons unsalted butter
1 medium shallot, finely chopped
2 sprigs of thyme, leaves picked and stems discarded
½ cup dry white wine
2 cups low-sodium chicken stock
1. In a medium bowl, combine the farro and 2 cups of the water. Set aside to soak for 30 minutes. Drain well and reserve.
2. Preheat the oven to 400º. Place the squash halves cut sides up on two foil-lined sheet pans. Drizzle with 1 tablespoon of the olive oil, season with salt and pepper and place in the oven. Bake until the squash is tender, about 30 to 40 minutes. Remove the squash from the oven and allow it to cool slightly before scooping out the insides into a medium bowl, taking care to leave a 1-inch border of flesh all around the edges. Add the heavy cream and the Parmigiano-Reggiano to the flesh in the bowl; mix to combine. Season with salt and pepper and set aside.
3. In a large saucepan set over medium heat, combine the butter and 2 remaining tablespoons of olive oil. Add the shallot and cook, stirring occasionally, until the shallot is softened and translucent, about 5 minutes. Stir in the reserved farro and thyme leaves and cook for 2 minutes, stirring frequently, until the farro is toasted and fragrant. Stir in the wine and cook for 2 minutes longer, stirring constantly, until the wine has been absorbed. Combine the chicken stock with the remaining 2 cups of water. Add ½ cup of the mixture to the farro, stirring until the liquid is completely absorbed. Continue adding the mixture, ½ cup at a time, until the farro is creamy and cooked through, about 1 hour. Stir in the reserved acorn-squash mixture and season with salt and pepper.
4. Spoon the finished risotto into the reserved acorn-squash halves, top with extra Parmigiano-Reggiano and serve immediately.