Squash and farro form a rich combination, ideal for a fall or winter supper. The flesh of the Italian pumpkin is a bit redder than that of butternut squash, but its texture—firm and meaty— is close to butternut or kabocha squash. To make this Tuscan dish more festive, you can add cooked chestnuts. You can also use golden beets in place of the squash. They make a lovely addition to farro and do not bleed color into the grain. I do not think they pair well with chestnuts, however, but you can add some toasted walnuts for contrasting texture and taste. Sage is harmonious both with squash and beets.
To cook this as a pilaf, in a saucepan, combine the farro and the water and bring to a boil over high heat. Add
If you are using the squash, bring a saucepan three-fourths full of water to a boil. Salt lightly, add the squash, and cook until barely tender, 5 to 8 minutes. It will cook to final tenderness later on, so do not let it become too soft. Drain and set aside.
If you are using the beets, trim away the greens if they are still attached, leaving 1 inch of the stem intact. Combine the beets with water to cover in a saucepan, bring to a gentle boil over medium heat, reduce the heat to low, and simmer until tender, 30 to 45 minutes, depending on size. Drain and, when cool enough to handle, peel and cut into ½-inch pieces. Alternatively, put the beets in a baking pan with
In a sauté pan, melt the
To cook this as a farrotto, pour the
With the butternut squash, try a rich white such as Vermentino di Gallura or a full-flavored rosato. For the beets, drink an earthy Friuli white such as Verduzzo, Tocai, or a Vintage Tunina from Jermann. Verdicchio will also harmonize.
© 2004 Joyce Goldstein. All rights reserved.