Joanne Weir Follow @ChefJoanneWeir

Farro Risotto with Squash and Grana Padano

Farro Risotto with Squash and Grana Padano

Photo curtesy of Icons of European Taste.

Serves 6 as a main course.



1 ¼ pound winter squash, such as butternut, kabocha or banana, peeled and seeded
4 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
Kosher salt
½ cup toasted hazelnuts
4 cups low sodium chicken broth
½ medium-size yellow onion, finely chopped
2 cups farro, 10 ounces
1 cup semi-dry Riesling wine
2 teaspoons hazelnut oil
1 tablespoon unsalted butter
Pinch of freshly grated nutmeg
1 cup finely grated Grana Padano


Preheat an oven to 425F. 

Cut the squash into ½-inch pieces and place on a baking sheet. Toss with 2 tablespoons of the olive oil and season with salt.  Roast on the top shelf of the oven, tossing halfway through, until light golden and tender, about 25 to 30 minutes.  Remove from the oven and reserve.

In the meantime, place the hazelnuts on a baking sheet in a single layer and toast until golden and fragrant, about 8 to 9 minutes.  Remove from the oven and let cool.  Chop coarsely and reserve.     

Place the broth in a saucepan, and over high heat, and bring to a boil.  Place on a back burner and reduce the heat to low to maintain the temperature just below the boiling point. Place a ladle in the broth.

In a large heavy saucepan, warm the remaining 2 tablespoons olive oil over medium high heat until the oil is shimmering.  Add the onions and cook, stirring occasionally, until they begin to soften, about 3 minutes.  Add 1/3 of the squash and 1 teaspoon salt and continue to cook until the onions are soft and translucent, about 5 additional minutes.   

Add the farro and cook, stirring to coat with oil.  Stir for 2 minutes coat with oil and to “toast” the farro.  Add the wine and cook, stirring, until the wine is almost absorbed, 1 to 2 minutes. 

Reduce the heat to medium and add twoladles of broth to the farro and continue to cook, stirring frequently. When most of the liquid has been absorbed, add another ladle of broth stirring frequently until most of the liquid has been absorbed.  Repeat adding broth, a ladle at a time and stirring frequently, until the farro is al dente, about 20 to 25 minutes.   If you run out of stock, add hot water.

When the risotto is done, turn the heat off.  Add the remaining squash, a ladle of hot broth or water, hazelnut oil, butter, nutmeg, and half of the Grana Padano. Cover and let sit off the heat for 5 minutes.

To serve, remove the cover, stir well and season with salt and pepper as needed. Serve immediately, sprinkled with the hazelnuts and the remaining Grana Padano.