I've decided that delicata is my new favorite squash. I just love its sweet, mildly nutty flavor and its versatility. So when I saw this yummy-sounding roasted pumpkin salad on 101 Cookbooks a few weeks ago, I decided I would create my own version using roasted delicata squash and farro in place of wild rice. I also found these lovely little purple cipollini onions at the farmers market on Thursday (though a regular red onion would also work just fine.)
Next time, I might try roasting the onions with a splash of pomegranate molasses in place of balsamic vinegar to add yet one more note of complexity and sweetness. I also think this would go nicely with some goat cheese though I had none on hand so I made a creamy balsamic vinegar dressing. You could also roast a butternut squash in place of delicata if you prefer the flavor.
Roasted Delicata Squash & Caramelized Red Onions with Farro
Serves 4 (as a side dish)
* 2 large delicata squash, peeled, seeded and cut into chunks or strips (your choice)
* 6 small cipollini onions or 1 really large red onion, peeled and cut into decent-sized wedges
* 1 1/2 cups semi-pearled farro, rinsed in several changes of water
* 3-4 cups stock or salted water (using vegetable or chicken stock will lend a richer flavor to the farro)
* 1 Tbsp balsamic vinegar
* 1 Tbsp fresh thyme, washed and chopped
* 3 tsps Italian parsely, washed and chopped
* 3 Tbsps olive oil
* 2 tsps walnut oil
* Sea salt
* Freshly ground black pepper
* Goat cheese (optional)
* I bunch arugula or watercress, washed and dried (optional)
1. Preheat the oven to 375. Toss the squash and onions with the thyme, olive oil and balsamic vinegar and spread in a single layer on a heavy baking sheet. Sprinkle everything with sea salt and roast, turning often, for 15-20 minutes or until soft but still toothsome (you don't want the squash to fall apart in the salad.) Remove from the oven and cool a bit.
2. While you're roasting the veggies, cook the farro (please note that these directions are for the semi-pearled variety which takes about half as long to cook as the other kind.) Add the rinsed and drained farro to the stock and bring to a boil. Reduce the heat to low and simmer until tender but still firm, about 15-20 minutes. Drain any excess liquid from the farro and place in a large bowl or on a platter (whatever you intend to serve the salad on/in.)
3. Add the parsley to the farro and toss with the walnut oil and a pinch of seal salt and a few grinds of black pepper. You can either toss in the squash and onions or serve them on top of the farro. If you're using goat cheese, dot the salad with it now. You can serve with or without greens - my recommendations would be either arugula or watercress for a little peppery bite.
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