The winter has now wholly captured us New Englanders. For me, this means an increased need for warm winter meals that offer a feeling of comfort after a long, cold (and sometimes snowy) day.  As much as I treasure the thrill of whipping up light and seasonal springtime and summer meals, in turn, I revel in recipes and ingredients that can stand up to the seasonal chill.

Winter squash heads my list.  The variety of delicious squash available during the colder months is delightful.  My new favorite friend is Delicata, which has a milder flavor, not as sweet as a butternut. Best of all you can eat the skin. (No time-consuming peeling necessary!)  A good friend shared a farro and squash recipe that I absolutely fell in love with and modified to include my new bestie!  I hope you enjoy it as much as I have.

4 small delicata squash (about 2 pounds)
4 tablespoons olive oil
Salt and pepper to taste
1 cup farro
2 ½ cups vegetable broth
1 tablespoon champagne vinegar (or vinegar of your choice)
½ teaspoon Dijon mustard
¼ teaspoon Aleppo pepper
½ teaspoon salt
½ teaspoon granulated sugar
2 large shallots, finely chopped
1 bunch flat-leaf parsley, finely chopped
6 oz. crumbled ricotta salata
⅓ cup roasted pepitas

Preheat oven to 375°F.

Trim the ends from the squash, then cut into halves and scoop out the seeds. Cut into approximately ¾-inch chunks. Coat one large baking sheet with 2 tablespoons of the oil. Spread the squash chunks out in a single layer on the baking sheet. Sprinkle with salt and pepper. Roast until tender, about 30 minutes, turning halfway through the cooking time. Set aside to cool slightly.

While the squash is roasting, cook the farro with vegetable broth in a medium, covered saucepan until the grains are tender but still chewy, about 15 minutes. Drain and cool slightly.

In a small bowl, whisk together vinegar, 1 tablespoon water, mustard, Aleppo pepper, ½ teaspoon salt and granulated sugar until sugar and salt dissolve. Stir in the shallots. Cover and refrigerate the dressing until needed. (this dressing is great served right away but letting it chill for a bit enhances the flavor.  A half hour in the fridge would be great.)

In a large bowl, combine the cooked squash, cooked farro, shallot and remaining dressing, parsley, ricotta salata and pepitas. Toss with the remaining 2 tablespoons of olive oil.  Serve warm or at room temperature.


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