Farro and Black Rice with Roasted Autumn Squash
Adapted from Ad Hoc at Home (Artisan, 2009)
“Squash sautéed in brown butter and bitter dandelion greens, dressed with a sharp mustard vinaigrette and served atop farro and black rice, make for a rich, hearty salad to serve warm in the fall. Farro, a type of wheat that looks like barley, has an amber hue and firm texture—it almost pops when you chew it. Black sticky rice is nutritious and high in fiber and gluten, with a wonderful nutty flavor. In Asia, it is primarily used for breakfast, puddings, and other desserts, but it makes a great bed for cooked Asian fruit and vegetable recipes.” –Thomas Keller
- 3 tablespoons canola oil
- 3 tablespoons chopped onion
- Kosher salt
- 1 cup farro
- 1/2 cup sweet Asian black rice
- 1 small (12 ounces) Delicata squash
- 1 small (about 1 1/2 pounds) butternut squash
- 1 small (12 ounces) kabocha squash
- 4 tablespoons (2 ounces) unsalted butter
- Freshly ground black pepper
- 2 ounces (about 1/2 large bunch) small dandelion or other spicy greens
- 4 ounces applewood-smoked slab bacon
- 3 tablespoons Champagne vinegar
- 1 teaspoon Dijon mustard
- About 1/3 cup canola oil
- 1/2 teaspoon whole-grain mustard
- Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
- Extra virgin olive oil
- Fleur de sel
Heat 2 tablespoons of the canola oil in a medium saucepan over medium heat. Add 2 tablespoons of the chopped onion with a pinch of salt and cook until translucent, about 3 minutes. Meanwhile, heat the remaining tablespoon oil in a small saucepan over medium heat. Add the remaining tablespoon chopped onion with a pinch of salt and cook until translucent, about 3 minutes.
Stir the farro into the medium saucepan and the rice into the small saucepan and cook, stirring occasionally to toast the grains, about 2 minutes.
Stir 2 cups of water into the farro, bring to a simmer, and stir once, then partially cover, reduce the heat to low, and simmer for 25 to 50 minutes (see Note). Stir 1 cup of water into the black rice, bring to a simmer, stir once, then partially cover, reduce the heat to low, and simmer for about 30 minutes. The farro and rice should be tender but not at all mushy. Add salt to taste. Drain the farro if necessary and spread on a tray to cool. Drain the rice and spread on another tray to cool.
Position oven racks in the lower and upper thirds of the oven and preheat the oven to 350ºF.
Cut off the ends of the Delicata squash and peel it. Cut lengthwise into quarters and remove the seeds. Cut each quarter lengthwise into 3 pieces. Put each piece seed side down on a cutting surface and cut on a sharp diagonal into 3/8-inch-thick slices about 1 1/2 inches long; discard the end pieces. You need about 1 1/2 cups squash for this recipe (reserve any extra for another use).
Peel the butternut squash. Cut the neck from the bulb, trim the neck, and cut into 1/2-inch cubes. Cut the bulb end lengthwise in half and remove the seeds. Cut each half lengthwise in half. Trim the ends, lay seed side down on a cutting surface, and cut into thin crescents.
Peel the Kabocha squash and cut into thin crescents as you did the butternut squash.
Put two large baking sheets into the oven to heat. You will be cooking the squash in 4 separate batches.
Heat a large skillet over medium-high heat. Remove the pan from the heat and add 1 tablespoon of the butter, swirling the pan to melt and brown it, then add the cubes of butternut squash and return to the heat. Season with salt and pepper and cook, stirring to coat evenly with the butter and seasoning, for about 1 1/2 minutes. Spread on one of the hot baking sheets in a single layer and roast for about 10 minutes, stirring once, until completely tender. Test a few pieces to be certain, then transfer to a tray to cool.
Meanwhile continue to cook the remaining squash, using the remaining 3 tablespoons butter. There is no need to clean the pan between batches. Cook the Kabocha squash and transfer to the second baking sheet to roast for about 12 minutes, until tender. Repeat with the butternut and Delicata crescents, which will take about 10 minutes. (Turn the oven down to 200ºF.)
Trim any woody stems from the dandelion greens. You should have about 3 cups loosely packed greens.
Cut the bacon into lardons 1 inch long and about 1/2 inch thick. Put the lardons in a frying pan in a single layer and cook over medium heat for 10 to 12 minutes, turning to color all sides and adjusting the heat as necessary, until crisp on the outside but still soft inside. Transfer to paper towels to drain. Pour the fat from the frying pan into a liquid measuring cup; you should have 2 to 3 tablespoons.
Put the vinegar and Dijon mustard in a blender. Add enough canola oil to the reserved bacon fat to equal 1/2 cup. Blend the vinegar and mustard and then, with the machine running, drizzle in the oil mixture until emulsified and smooth. Transfer to a small bowl and whisk in the whole-grain mustard. Season to taste with salt and pepper.
To serve, put the squash in the oven to heat through.
Meanwhile, toss the farro, rice, and bacon with a light coating of the vinaigrette in a large bowl.
Transfer the warm squash to another large bowl, and toss gently with the dandelion greens and light coating of vinaigrette.
Arrange a bed of the farro mixture on a large platter, followed by layers of the squash mixture and remaining farro. Drizzle with olive oil and sprinkle with fleur de sel. Serve the remaining dressing on the side.