Love and Olive Oil

Farro Risotto with Acorn Squash and Kale

Farro Risotto with Acorn Squash and Kale

Farro isn’t something we’d cooked with before. Arborio, barley, bulgar, quinoa… all grains with regular shelf space in our pantry. But farro was a new one. In fact I had to spell it out for Taylor when I first mentioned it, and ever since then he bursts into song, “The fairest daughter of the Pharaoh’s son” (from Josh Ritter’s Monster Ballad) every time I say the word farro (leaving the tune stuck firmly in our heads during the entire hour and a half preparation). It’s a dish with its own soundtrack! To be honest, I don’t even know if it’s pronounced farro (like fair-oh) or farro (like far-oh). But I do know that it was gosh darn tasty.

Farro Risotto with Acorn Squash and Kale

Hearty enough to fill us up, healthy enough to feel good about it. Paired with the sweetness of the acorn squash (we’ve also made this with butternut with just as stellar results) and the lovely bitterness of the kale, it’s a vegetarian meal that is worth repeating. And repeating. And indeed, we’ve made it three times since. Use a good vegetable broth (homemade if you have it, Trader Joe’s broth is also fabulously carroty), because, like any risotto, the grain absorbs nearly all the liquid, the broth is one of the biggest contributors to the overall flavor of the dish.

Farro Risotto with Acorn Squash and Kale

It wasn’t until we started cooking that we realized this was Sean Brock’s recipe. Sean Brock as in the chef at Husk in Charleston. A restaurant we visited back in August when we went to Charleston for a mini-vacation. I have not forgotten their bourbon glazed biscuits with lard butter. I don’t think I ever will.

So we closed our eyes and imagined we were sitting on the porch, soaking up the sun and the sea breeze in Charleston once again. Isn’t that what you imagine when you’re eating a hearty winter risotto?

Farro Risotto with Acorn Squash and Kale

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4 tablespoons unsalted butter, divided
1 small acorn squash, peeled, halved, seeded, cut into 1/2″ cubes
Kosher salt, freshly ground pepper
1/2 bunch red Russian or other kale (about 5 ounces), center stems removed, leaves torn
1 tablespoon vegetable oil
3/4 cup farro
1/4 cup diced white onion
1 small garlic clove, very thinly sliced
1/4 cup dry white wine
2 cups vegetable stock mixed with 2 cups water, warmed
1/4 cup finely grated Parmesan


Preheat oven to 375°F. Melt 1 tablespoon butter in a medium saucepan. Add squash, season lightly with salt and pepper, and toss to coat. Spread out on a rimmed baking sheet. Roast, turning squash every 10 minutes, until tender, 30–35 minutes.

Cook kale in a large pot of boiling salted water until wilted, about 2 minutes. Transfer to a bowl of ice water to cool; drain.

Heat oil in a large ovenproof skillet over medium heat. Add farro; toss to coat. Roast in oven until toasted, stirring once, about 6 minutes. Transfer to a bowl; wipe out skillet.

Melt 2 tablespoons butter in same skillet over medium heat. Add onion and cook, stirring occasionally, until translucent, about 4 minutes. Add garlic; stir until aromatic, about 2 minutes. Add wine; increase heat to high. Stir until almost evaporated, about 2 minutes. Add farro and 1/2 cup warm stock mixture. Stir until almost all liquid is absorbed, about 3 minutes. Continue cooking, adding broth by 1/2 cupfuls and allowing broth to be absorbed between additions, until farro is tender, about 1 hour.

Add kale, squash, remaining 1 tablespoon butter, and cheese; stir gently until butter and cheese are melted and vegetables are heated through, about 2 minutes. Season to taste with salt and pepper.

Recipe from Bon Appétit.

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  1. Was super delicious! Made without the squash, kale and parmesan cheese since my husband is a bit picky. Served with peas. Definitely will make it again!

  2. Wow. Just made this and it s AMAZING

  3. Se você ora descobrir porquê finalizar com a celulite de vez, perder peso um passo muito essencial para atingir
    essa objetivo!

  4. I read this article fully regarding the difference of
    newest and preceding technologies, it’s remarkable article.

  5. It is pronounced the 2nd way: far-roh (italian) with stressed RR. We don’t have kale in my country, I will try your recipe with something else instead. 

  6. A thanksgiving dinner hit, thank you so much.

  7. Such great comfort food! Eating it right now :)

  8. Okay, so I’ve just finished evaporating the wine on high heat. Now I add the farro and the broth – am I supposed to leave it on high? No That can’t be right. Ah, I know how to figure the heat setting – just adjust it so that the half-cup of broth is absorbed in about three minutes (like the recipe suggests). But wait a minute: three minutes per half cup times 4 cups equals 24 minutes. But the recipe says this should take “about an hour”. Hmm, which is it? Well, I’ve made rice risotto before, so I just kinda did the same and it worked out fine in the end.

    Lindsey and Taylor, please fix these little niggles in the recipe – because the end result is really, really great food!!!

    • If you’ve made risotto you know it’s more art than science. Just because the wine takes 3 minutes to absorb does not mean each 1/2 cup addition is going to take exactly 3 minutes. It’ll depend on a wide variety of factors. We found it took 45 minutes to an hour to get tender, quite a bit longer than regular rice risotto. We had no problem following the directions on the original recipe (maybe you should bring up your niggles with Bon Appetit) and arriving at a delicious final product!

      Glad you enjoyed it, regardless.

  9. I’ve yet to try farro – can’t wait to try this recipe. I’m a big of squash and kale, so I’m sure I’ll love this.

  10. can i just say that i love this blog even MORE now that i know you guys are josh ritter fans?!?

  11. Oh, we LOVE farro! Squash and kale, too. This recipe is perfect for us. I can’t wait to make it. Thank you for sharing!

  12. Great combination of flavors!

  13. Oh this looks so healthy & delish! Perfect for after the week of holiday indulgence. Thanks for sharing. Happy New Year, Lindsay!

  14. That is one bowl of winter deliciousness!!

    Happy New Year, Lindsay :)

  15. I love substituting the rice in risotto with other interesting grains and this looks gorgeous – just the kind of healthy sustenance I need to bring in the New Year and end the Christmas decadence!

  16. Mmmmm! I am trying to have more of a grain variety, and this lookso die for! Lovethecolor from the squash and kale :)

  17. Looks wonderful! I did not know you could peel an acorn squash. I’m going to try it! I know you can with butternut squash but not acorn. Thanks. This recipe looks amazing!

  18. I knew this looked familiar! See for my take on a 101 Cookbooks recipe involving sweet potatoes and spices for an appetizer. It had the same warm, inviting “Mash Me” look to it… hard to resist sweet potatoes!

  19. This is totally calling my name

  20. Looks perfect for cold evenings!! Yum!

  21. interesting… great twist & can’t wait to try!

  22. Mmm, it looks so delish and warm and perfect for the chilly day we’re having. And your photos and the details are just lovely!

  23. I’m always looking for ways to incorporate more kale into my diet -can’t wait to try this!

  24. Risotto is one of my favorite things to make…I haven’t ever used farro either, though. It looks wonderful. I’ll have to try!

  25. yum! random note: i like your new recipe style :)

  26. This look absolutely delicious! But… I’m ready for those tiramisu shooters!

  27. this sounds absolutely wonderful, a great twist on risotto!

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