Monday, February 17, 2014

Back on the roll: Farro, Spaghetti Squash and Pomegranate Vinaigrette

After the brief cherry dessert interruption (hope you tried it) we will get this rolling again with amazing, not that complicated but certainly not the usual dish number 2 from Lemonade in LA.  We could just jump right into it, but what fun would that be?  None.

It's sleeting outside which has totally broken my cross-country skiing streak.  Days on days of snow and adventures over my trails, trails left by the two other skiers in my neighborhood, unplowed streets and trails I blazed through at least a foot and a half of snow.  Do you know I live in Central Indiana?  We do not get snow like this, but I wish we did.  I may be the only one.  I love to shovel.  I love to work hard outside and get all warm inside.  I love snowflakes on my face and wind-burn on my cheeks.   I love this all because it's almost all optional.  I work in the mall.  I have a nice big warm home.  I have plenty to eat.  Rio, our older cat loves to sit in the windowsills and sniff through the screens.  I love to indulge him and open the window for a few minutes.  We both stick our faces in the window to feel and smell the bracing cold air.  And then we close the window because eventually the heating bill comes and that will take all the fun out of a little open window time.

So the recipe for this dish is another one that is served room temperature or cold and right now with the sleet tapping on my windows, it seems a little out of season.  But it tastes light and bright and is nutritionally very sound.  It makes a great lunch dish.  So different.  You'll need spaghetti squash which is easy to find in the winter (and don't be a squash snob, it's delightful here).  Farro is a trendy ancient grain that looks a lot like barley crossed with wheat berries to me (similarly nutty in taste too).  Trader Joe's sells it in a nice small bag.  Unlike the giant bag of quinoa from Costco that's lasted me a year (still trying to like it more).  Dried cranberries brighten up the dish nicely.  I upped the quantity in my version.    Pomegranate juice is pricey, but you just need a little bottle.  It's super tasty and good for you, though so buy a medium bottle for cost savings and add a splash to a beverage.

The cookbook I have adapted this recipe from notes you can omit the vinaigrette and toss the warm farro and squash together with the other ingredients and a pat of butter for a warm dish.  Gonna try it and let you know.  Have a feeling there are a few more cold days left this winter.


Farro, Spaghetti Squash and Pomegranate Vinaigrette

1 spaghetti squash, halved lengthwise and seeds removed (scoop them out with a big strong spoon)
2 T olive oil
kosher salt
freshly ground pepper
1 C farro
1//4 C fresh Italian/flat-leaf parsley leaves, chopped
1/2 C dried cranberries
1/2 C Pomegranate Vinaigrette
1/4 C crumbled feta or goat cheese

Preheat the oven to 375 degrees.  Drizzle the cut side of the spaghetti squash halves with the olive oil and sprinkle with kosher salt and freshly ground pepper.  Place cut-side down on a baking sheet (I usually roast things right-side up, but this worked great).  Roast until you can pull strands easily with a fork, about 45 minutes (the skin will be nice and browned).  Pull out the squash flesh with a fork and and place in a mixing bowl to cool.

Cook the faro by brining a 2 quart pot of water (with 1 heaping tsp of kosher salt added) to a boil.  Add the farro, stir and reduce heat to medium low.  Cover the pan and simmer until the farro is tender and the grains have split open or about 20-25 minutes.  Drain and cool (in the colander is fine).

Make the vinaigrette.  Add the farro to the squash along with the parsley, dried cranberries and feta.  Drizzle with the vinaigrette and taste for salt and pepper.  Toss before serving.

Pomegranate Vinaigrette
1 C pomegranate juice
1/4 C honey or agave nectar
1/2 shallot. peeled and minced
2 cloves garlic, minced
2 T red wine vinegar
juice of one lemon
1/4 C or more of olive oil
kosher or coarse salt
freshly ground pepper

Pour the pomegranate juice into a non-reactive saucepan and place over medium-low heat.  Add the honey or agave and gently simmer until the juice has reduced to 1/4-1/2 C and is thick and syrupy (about 10-15 minutes).  Set aside to cool.

In a small bowl or jar, combine the pomegranate syrup, shallot, garlic, vinegar, lemon juice and olive oil.  Shake of whisk to blend.  Season lightly with salt and pepper to taste.  Start with 1/4 C olive oil and add more if you like the taste or appearance better.  I was fine with the smaller quantity.  Extra vinaigrette keeps in the refrigerator for about a week.


Serves 8-10

ingredients

squash ready to roast

roasted and fork tender

pomegranate syrup in the making

ready to toss

now we have vinaigrette and feta in the photo

ta-da!






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