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Farro Risotto with Butternut Squash with Kale Chips

Serves: Makes 4 servings


  • 1 medium (2 pound) butternut squash, peeled, seeded and cut into 1-inch dice
  • ¼ cup olive oil, plus more as needed
  • Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste

  • 2 cups kale, ribs removed and cut into 1-inch pieces
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil

  • 1 cup farro, semi pearled or whole, rinsed
  • 2 cups boiling water
  • 1 tablespoon unsalted butter
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 2 medium shallots, minced
  • 2 cloves garlic, finely minced
  • 1 teaspoon fresh oregano, minced
  • ½ cup dry white wine
  • 5 cups vegetable or chicken stock
  • 2 tablespoons grated pecorino romano
  • 2 teaspoons lemon zest


Farro, with its complex nutty taste, looks similar to a grain of brown rice. As this grain contains starch similar to Arborio rice, it behaves similar to risotto releasing a creamy, binding liquid when cooked. Unlike risotto, it becomes tender and has a distinct bite. Because farro is so easily digested and so low in gluten, farro can often be eaten by people who are gluten intolerant.

Preheat oven to 375°F and position an oven rack in the upper third.

In a large, heatproof bowl, pour boiling water over farro and cover. Allow to sit undisturbed for about 20 minutes.

To cook squash: Place the squash in a large bowl and toss with olive oil until all pieces are well coated. Season with salt and pepper. Spread the squash in an even layer on a silpat-lined baking sheet. Cooked squash has a tendency to stick to parchment paper. Transfer the baking sheet to the oven and roast until golden-brown and tender, about 30 minutes.

To prepare kale chips: Place the kale in a medium bowl, toss with olive oil and arrange on a baking sheet. Bake for 15 to 20 minutes until crisp and slightly browned around the edges. Sprinkle with salt while warm and allow to cool completely.

In a large sauté pan, melt butter in the olive oil, over a medium high heat. Add the shallots and cook until translucent, about 2 minutes. Add garlic, using a wooden spoon to stir, and cook until fragrant, approximately 30 seconds. Stir in the fresh oregano.

To prepare farro: Add the drained farro to the pan, stirring to coat the grains in the oil and butter until toasted, about 2 minutes. Add the white wine to deglaze the pan and reduce the heat to low and bring the liquid to a simmer.

Begin adding the stock, stirring well with each new addition, in ¼ cup intervals. Adding the additional stock as the pan becomes dry and you can see a line in the pan when moving a spoon through the farro. After approximately 3 cups of stock have been added, taste farro for doneness. It should be chewy, yet tender. Add additional stock as needed. Stir in grated pecorino romano and lemon zest when farro is cooked.

Add the butternut squash to the cooked farro, using a silicone spatula to fold the squash through the risotto and being careful not to mash the squash. Taste and season with salt and pepper.

To serve: Divide the farro between 4 warmed pasta bowls. Top with kale chips and serve immediately.

Tested and perfected in the Sur la Table kitchen

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