Weekly Winner: Far-Out, Farr-otto!

Farro risottoI’m always interested in (if not always actively working towards) adding more whole grains into my diet.  Problem is, after trying several options, I’m not a big fan of alternative pastas or pizza crusts. I do, however adore farro.  Could this recipe for Farro Risotto with Crisped Prosciutto win me over to a healthier, more virtuous risotto??  Absolutely!! Did I feel like I sacrificed flavor for health? Not. One. Bit.

I think this might be the first recipe I’ve clipped from Health Magazine but it’s a keeper! This is a bit more “toothsome” and hearty than most risottos but quite delicious nonetheless.  I was dubious about the sunflower seeds … a whole cup! but that gave it a really nice nutty taste and subtle crunch.  The crispy prosciutto helped to make this feel like a decadent, luxurious dish rather than an inferior substitute dish to make you feel virtuous (um….like cauliflower pizza crust).  So make this dish … your conscience and your taste buds will thank you.

Farro Risotto with Crisped Prosciutto

Serves 6

Ingredients:

  • 6 cups unsalted chicken stock
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 2 cups chopped leeks (from 2 leeks), white and light green parts only
  • 1 tablespoon chopped fresh thyme
  • 6 garlic cloves, finely chopped
  • 1 cup raw sunflower seeds
  • 1 cup farro
  • 1/2 cup dry white wine (or more chicken stock)
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1 pound fresh asparagus, trimmed and cut into 2-inch pieces
  • 1/4 cup grated Parmesan cheese
  • 1/2 teaspoon black pepper
  • 6 prosciutto slices
  • 2 tablespoons finely chopped fresh chives

Procedure:

  1. Place stock and 2 cups water in a large saucepan over medium heat; cover and let come to a simmer.  Adjust heat to maintain simmer.
  2. Heat oil in a large Dutch over over medium-high. Add leeks, thyme, and garlic; cook, stirring occasionally, until begetables are soft, 5 to 6 minutes. Add sunflower seeds and farro, and cook, stirring often, until seeds and farro are toasted, 2 to 3 minutes. Stir in wine, bring to a boil, and cook until until wine is almost evaporated, about 2 minutes.
  3. Stir salt and 2 cups of the simmering stock mixture into farro mixture, ad bring to a boil over medium-high. Reduce heat to medium, and simmer, stirring often, until liquid is absorbed, 10 to 12 minutes. Add 5 more cups or the simmering stock mixture in 4 additions (1-1/4 cups at a time) stirring often until farro is very tender and liqsuid is mostly absorbed after each addition, another 15 to 20 minutes.  add asparagus and remaining 1 cup simmering stock mixture and cook until asparagus is tender, about 3 minutes.  Remove from heat, and stir in Parmesan and pepper.
  4. Place prosciutto slices between paper towers on a microwavable plate.  Microwave on high until crisp, about 2 minutes, stopping at 30-ssecond intervals after 1 minute to check doneness.  Break prosciutto slices in half or crumble. Top each serving evenly with prosciutto, and sprinkle with chives.  Serve immediately.

 

Weekly Winner: I may have a meatball soup problem

chicken meatball soupIf loving meatballs in your soup is wrong, then dangit, I don’t want to be right!  Yes, I’ve posted quite a few meatball soup recipes — one just a few weeks ago.  But honestly, I think this one is my favorite.  Or, shall I say my new favorite…until the next one comes along!

Chicken Meatball Pea Soup is the “good kid” of meatball soup recipes.  It is healthy, easy, good looking, quick to prepare.  It’s a soup you can feel good about, and on top of all that, it is downright delicious!  The recipe comes from Woman’s Day Magazine and was featured under their collection of heart healthy meals.  So do your heart and the rest of your body a favor and make this soup.

Chicken Meatball Pea Soup

Serves 4

Ingredients:

1 Tbsp olive oil

1 leek, white and light green part only, sliced lengthwise in half, then thinly sliced

4 32-oz containers low-sodium chicken broth

1 cup farro

1 large egg

1/4 cup old-fashioned rolled oats

1 scallion, finely chopped

2 Tbsp finely chopped fresh dill, plus more for serving

1 Tbsp grated lemon zest

Kosher salt and pepper

1 lb. ground chicken breast

1/2 bunch kale, tough ribs removed leaves torn (about 3 cups)

1 cup frozen peas

Procedure:

  1. Heat oven to 425F. Line rimmed baking sheet with foil
  2. Heat oil in a Dutch oven on medium. Add leak and cook, stirring occasionally, until tender, about 3 minutes. Add broth and bring to a boil.  Stir in farro, reduce heat, and simmer until farro is nearly tender, 20-25 minutes.
  3. Meanwhile, in a large bowl, beat egg and 1 Tbsp water; stir in oats and let stand for 5 minutes. Stir in scallion, dill, lemon zest, and 1/4 tsp each salt and pepper.  Add chicken and mix to combine.
  4. With damp hands, form chicken mixture into 3/4-in balls and transfer to prepared baking sheet.  Roast until no longer pink, about 5 minutes.
  5. Add kale to simmering soup along with 1/4 tsp salt and cook until slightly wilted, about 3 minutes. Stir in peas and meatballs and cook until heated through, about 1 minute.  Serve with additional dill, if desired.

 

 

Weekly Winner: This Pasta is Nuts!

walnut pastaPasta in a creamy sauce.  Really that’s all I need to know and I’m in.  Fettuccine with Walnut Sauce is hearty comfort in a bowl.   Don’t feel bad about the small amount of heavy cream and cheese in this recipe, the walnuts more than make up for it with their “brain fuel” benefits. See?  You can have your creamy pasta and eat it too (and feel good about it!)

The recipe comes from Cook’s Country and is super quick to make thanks in part to the food processor.  Getting the sauce together while the pasta cooks means it is on the table in no time.

Fettuccine with Walnut Sauce

Serves 4

Ingredients:

1 pound fettuccine

Salt and pepper

2-1/4 cups (9 oz) walnuts, toasted

1/4 cup heavy cream

1/4 cup grated Parmesan cheese, plus extra for serving

1 Tbsp lemon juice

1 garlic clove, minced

1/8 tsp nutmeg

2 Tbsp chopped fresh parsley

Procedure:

  1. Bring 4 quarts water to boil in large pot.  Add pasta and 1 tablespoon salt and cook, stirring often, until al dente.  Reserve 1 cup cooking water, then drain pasta and return it to pot.
  2. Chop 1/4 cup walnuts; set aside.  Process remaining 2 cups walnuts, cream, Parmesan, lemon juice, garlic, nutmeg, 1 teaspoon salt, and 1/2 teaspoon pepper in food processor to coarse paste, about 30 seconds
  3. Add walnut sauce and reserved cooking water to pasta and toss to combine.  Season with salt and pepper to taste.  Sprinkle with parsley and reserved chopped walnuts. Serve, passing extra Parmesan separately.

Weekly Winner -Great Big Balls of Comfort!

lion head meatballsI’d like to say I made this dish for the Chinese New Year.  Truth is, I made it quite a few weeks ago and am just now getting around to writing about it — not because it wasn’t good enough (it’s an amazing dish) but because, well…. life happens and I actually forgot about it until going through the photos I’ve set aside for the blog.  So here it is, better late than never …. Lion’s Head Meatballs.

If ever there was a winter dish, this is it!!  Massive meatballs bobbing around in a rich, aromatic broth with noodles to boot (or in this case, to slurp!)  While I admit the meatballs and broth are somewhat monochromatic and perhaps a bit anemic looking, do not be fooled.  Everything in this bowl packs a punch of flavor.  The recipe comes from Cooks Illustrated and while it takes a bit of time to put together, most of the time is spent in the oven making your house smell incredible.

Lion’s Head Meatballs

Serves 4-6

Ingredients:

3/4 tsp baking soda

1/2 tsp table salt

2 pounds ground pork

1 large egg, lightly beaten

2 scallions, white parts minced, green parts sliced thin

2 Tbsp soy sauce

2 Tbsp Shaoxing wine or dry sherry

4 tsp sugar

2 tsp grated fresh ginger

1/2 tsp white pepper

4 cups chicken broth

1 small head napa cabbage (1-1/2 lbs), quartered lengthwise, cored, and cut crosswise into 2-inch pieces

4 oz rice vermicelli

Procedure:

  1. Adjust oven rack to lower-middle position and heat oven to 325F degrees. Whisk baking soda, salt, and 2 tablespoons water together in bowl of stand mixer.  Add pork to baking soda mixture and toss to combine.  Add egg, scallion whites, soy sauce, wine, sugar, ginger, and white pepper.  Fit stand mixer with paddle and beat on medium speed until mixture is well combined and has stiffened and started to pull away from sides of bowl and pork has slightly lighted in color, 45 to 60 seconds. Using your wet hands, form about 1/2 cup (4-1/2 oz) pork mixture into 3-inch round meatball; repeat with remaining mixture to form 8 meatballs.
  2. Bring broth to boil in large Dutch oven over high heat.  Off heat, carefully arrange meatballs in pot (7 around perimeter and 1 in center; meatballs will not be totally submerged).  Cover pot, transfer to oven, and cook for 1 hour.
  3. Transfer meatballs to large plate.  Add cabbage to pot in even layer and arrange meatballs over cabbage, paler side up.  Cover, return pot to oven, and continue to cook until meatballs are lightly browned and cabbage is softened, about 30 minutes longer.
  4. While meatballs and cabbage cook, bring 4 quarts water to boil in large pot.  Off heat, add vermicelli and let sit, stirring occasionally, until vermicelli is fully tender, 10 to 15 minutes.  Dain, rinse with cold water, drain again, and distribute evenly among 4 to 6 large soup bowls.
  5. Ladle meatballs, cabbage and broth into bowls of noodles.  Sprinkle with scallion greens and serve.

Weekly Winner: Because Imitation is the Best Form of Flattery…. right??

MacNCheeseI do love a challenge and this week, I got a good one! I have a wonderful, elderly gentleman that I cook for. His doctor has told him he needs to gain some weight.  The problem is he is not a big eater and honestly, sometimes I think he simply forgets to eat.  But he knows what he likes and what he thinks he’s going to like.  When speaking with him this week to get his weekly order he gave me a challenge:  He said he goes to his local Whole Foods and on several occasions, while perusing the hot bar of prepared food, he has stopped in front of their mac-n-cheese.  He’s never bought any because, according to him, there has never been very much in the pan when he’s been there, but what has been there looks rich, gooey, cheesy and like something he’d enjoy.  So he asks me: “Can you make me some mac-n-cheese like that?”

Challenge Accepted!!  I head on over to my local Whole Foods and buy a small container of this much-sought-after mac.  I walk home, heat it back up and sit down to see what all the fuss is about.  I taste it.  It’s good.  It’s ridiculously creamy and I believe I can recreate this.  Before I go any further let me be clear:  I am absolutely positive that Whole Foods does not use Velveeta in their version.  Their ingredient list, however does mention American cheese and a roux.  In my mind, Velveeta is an easy, time-saving step that will allow this to be easily reheated and remain smooth.

This is my version.  I gotta admit, I was fairly impressed when I did a side-by-side taste test.  I’m not sure anyone could tell the difference!  I can’t wait to see if one certain elderly gentleman agrees!

Wanna Be Whole Foods Mac-n-Cheese

Serves a ton!

Ingredients:

1 lb large elbow macaroni

2 cups whole milk

2 Tbsp butter

8 oz Velveeta cheese, cubed

1 tsp ground mustard

1 tsp kosher salt

8 oz grated cheddar-jack cheese

1 cup grated sharp cheddar cheese

5 Tbsp grated Parmesan cheese

Procedure:

  1. Cook macaroni is salted, boiling water for 10 minutes and rinse in hot water, drain well.
  2. While pasta cooks, heat milk, butter, mustard, salt and Velveeta in Dutch oven, stirring until cheese melts.
  3. When smooth, add additional cheeses and stir until melted.  Turn off heat and let stand for 5 minutes to continue thickening.
  4. Stir cooked macaroni into cheese sauce.
  5. Serve topped with additional grated sharp cheddar cheese.

Weekly Winner: New Year, New..yeah, yeah, yeah….

buddha bowlIt’s that time again!  New Year, New You!!!  You know what?  I’m the same me as I was last year and the year before that.  This doesn’t mean that when January 1st comes around I don’t feel like making a change…. it means I always feel like making a change.  After the excess and excuses of the holidays it is time to hunker down and clean up the eating game for a bit.  Yes, that’s right…. I said “for a bit”.  Because I know me.  I will revert back to cheese, my pastas and my pork.  And for me, this “new, old me” will take everything in moderation….even moderation.

Since I’m ready for some clean, nurturing meals, I can think of no better way to start than with this Buddha Bowl with Roasted Sweet Potatoes, Spiced Chickpeas, and Chard.  I got the recipe from Epicurious and honestly, it was so tasty and satisfying (not to mention pretty), I forgot I was being good!  I’ll be eating this throughout the year (even when I slip back into my “old” not-so-virtuous ways).

Buddha Bowl with Roasted Sweet Potatoes, Spiced Chickpeas, and Chard

Serves 4

For the poblano tahini sauce

1-1/2 cups roughly chopped poblano pepper

1 clove garlic, quartered

1/3 cup tahini

3 Tbsp fresh lemon juice

1 Tbsp olive oil

Sea salt

Freshly ground black pepper

For the Buddha bowls

1 cup quinoa, rice, or farro (I used farro)

2 large sweet potatoes (1-1/2 to 2 pounds), peeled and cut into 1-inch cubes

1-1/2 Tbsp olive oil (the recipe calls for melted coconut oil, but I gotta be me)

2 tsp pure maple syrup

1 tsp orange zest

sea salt

1 (15 oz) can chickpeas, drained, rinsed, and patted dry

1 Tbsp plus 2 tsp olive oil

1/2 tsp paprika

1/8 tsp ground cumin

1/8 tsp cayenne pepper

Freshly ground black pepper

4 cloves garlic, peeled

1/8 tsp crushed red pepper flakes

1 bunch Swiss chard, red, green, or rainbow, stemmed, leaves cut into 1-inch strips

Preparation:

For the poblano tahini sauce:

In a blender or food processor, combine the poblano, garlic, tahini, lemon juice, olive oil, and 1/4 cup water and blend until smooth. (If sauce is too thick, add water as needed to reach desired consistency). Season with 1/2 teaspoon salt and 1/8 teaspoon pepper.  Set aside

For the Buddha bowls:

  1. Preheat the oven to 425F
  2. In a medium saucepan, cook the quinoa, rice or farro according to package directions.
  3. In a medium bowl, combine the sweet potatoes, 1-1/2 tablespoons olive oil (or coconut oil, melted) maple syrup, orange zest, and 1/4 teaspoon salt.  Mix until the potatoes are evenly coated
  4. Spread potatoes on a rimmed backing sheet and roast for 20 minutes.  Flip them with a spatula and roast until the potatoes are tender and beginning to brown, an additional 10-15 minutes (while roasting chickpeas — see next step)
  5. Meanwhile, in a small bowl, combine the chickpeas, 2 teaspoons of the olive oil, the paprika, cumin, cayenne, 1/4 teaspoon salt and 1/8 teaspoon pepper.  Mix well until the chickpeas are thoroughly coated. Spread the chickpeas on the rimmed baking sheet with the sweet potatoes and roast until golden, about 10-15 minutes.
  6. In a large skillet over medium-high heat, heat the remaining tablespoon of olive oil until shimmering.  Add the garlic and red pepper flakes. Cook until the garlic is fragrant, 3 to 4 minutes.  Add the chard, cover, and cook, stirring occasionally, until the chard begins to wilt, 2 to 3 minutes.  Uncover, add 1/4 teaspoon salt and 1/8 teaspoon pepper, and cook, stirring occasionally, until the chard is completely wilted and cooked through, an additional 1 to 2 minutes.  Discard the garlic cloves.
  7. Put 1/2 cup of the cooked grain in the bottom of each of the four serving bowls. Top each bowl with equal portions of the roasted sweet potatoes, roasted chickpeas, and sautéed chard.
  8. Drizzle with the poblano tahini sauce and serve.

Weekly Winner: Spice, Swine & Spaghetti

sambal porkYou know I’m going to like any dish that combines pork and pasta.  Add to it a punchy kick of sambal and I am all in.  Spicy-Sweet Sambal Pork Noodles was the perfect “welcome home” meal after traveling this past week.

The recipe comes from Bon Appetit and is more spicy than sweet.  The heat is definitely there but because it is simmered in the sauce for quite a while, the spice is milder than if you just added the sambal oelek right at the end.  There’s also some sugar and vinegar in there to help tame it a bit.  While this is an easy dish, unlike a lot of pasta and noodle dishes, it’s not super quick — the sauce needs to simmer for close to an hour but is basically hands-off except for a quick stir now and then. Well worth the time — it will make your house smell fabulous while its simmering away!

Spicy-Sweet Sambal Pork Noodles

Serves 6

Ingredients:

  • 2 Tbsp. extra-virgin olive oil
  • 2 lb. ground pork, divided
  • 1 2″ piece fresh ginger, peeled, cut into thin matchsticks or finely chopped
  • 8 garlic cloves, thinly sliced
  • 2 Tbsp. sugar
  • 2 Tbsp. tomato paste
  • 2 sprigs basil, plus more for serving
  • ⅓ cup hot chili paste (such as sambal oelek)
  • ¼ cup soy sauce
  • ¼ cup unseasoned rice vinegar
  • 1½ lb. fresh ramen noodles or 16 oz. dried spaghetti
  • Kosher salt
  • 2 Tbsp. unsalted butter

Procedure:

  • Heat oil in a large wide heavy pot over medium-high. Add half of pork to pot, breaking apart into 6–8 large chunks with a wooden spoon. Cook, undisturbed, until well browned underneath, about 5 minutes. Turn pieces and continue to cook, turning occasionally, until pork is browned on 2–3 sides, about 5 minutes longer. Add ginger, garlic, sugar, and remaining pork to pot and cook, breaking up pork into small clumps, until meat is nearly cooked through, about 5 minutes longer. Add tomato paste and 2 basil sprigs. Cook, stirring occasionally, until paste darkens, about 2 minutes. Add chili paste, soy sauce, vinegar, and 2 cups water. Bring to a simmer, reduce heat to low, and cook, uncovered and stirring occasionally, until sauce is slightly thickened and flavors have melded, 30–45 minutes.

  • Cook noodles in a large pot of boiling salted water, stirring occasionally, until 1 minute short of al dente. Add to pot with sauce along with butter and a splash of pasta cooking liquid. Simmer, tossing occasionally, until sauce begins to cling to noodles, about 1 minute. Pluck out basil sprigs.

  • Divide noodles among plates. Top with torn basil.

Weekly Winner: Dark Horse Champion Cheeseball

First things first — what has happened??  Apparently I’ve been too busy cooking to write about the things I’ve cooked!!   Which would explain why this entry does not have an accompanying picture.  But then again, we all pretty much know what a cheese ball looks like — close your eyes, visualize a cheese ball — yep, that’s it!  So here’s why this Antipasti Cheese Ball is so special.

I wanted a “little something” for munching prior to our Thanksgiving dinner.  We were having a very intimate gathering and I had seen this recipe in my stack of “ideas” and honestly don’t even remember where I pulled it from.

What bugs me about most cheese balls is that they are rolled in something — nuts, herbs, crumbled bacon (well, that would be OK), which makes it difficult and messy to cut and spread.  Not this one!  This recipe was just jam-packed with everything that makes a usual antipasti platter so good: spicy salami, peppers, olives, cheese.  The recipe made way more than I’d need for Thanksgiving but we were also hosting a larger football party later that weekend.  Voila! Two birds, one stone!  Or maybe two gatherings, one dish!

Anyway, this was a MAJOR hit!  I got a ton of compliments on it and for good reason — it was amazing!!  Also several people asked me for the recipe so they could make it and so, without further ado — here it is!  And I will definitely try to be a bit more regular with my posts from here on out!!

Antipasti Cheese Ball

Serves 12

Ingredients:

8 oz cream cheese

1 cup grated Parmesan

2 Tbsps. olive oil

2 Tbsps. minced fresh garlic

1 Tbsp. red wine vinegar

1 tsp. dried oregano

1/2 tsp. red pepper flakes

1/2 tsp. anchovy paste

Black pepper to taste

2 oz hard salami, finely diced

1/4 cup finely diced pimentos or roasted red peppers

1/4 cup finely diced pepperoncini

1/4 cup each finely diced Kalamata and Castelvetrano olives

Procedure:

  1. Beat together cream cheese, Parmesan, oil, garlic, vinegar, oregano, pepper flakes, and anchovy paste in a bowl with a mixer until combined; season with black pepper
  2. Stir in salami, roasted peppers, pepperoncini, Kalamata and Castelvetrano olives
  3. Line a 3-1/2 cup bowl with plastic wrap, press cheese mixture into bowl, smooth top, then cover and chill overnight, or up to 1 week.

 

Weekly Winner: Ravioli Ridiculousness — Because you can’t be good all the time!

ravioli casseroleBaked pasta is good.  Stuffed pasta that is baked is better.  Stuffed pasta which is layered in a casserole with sausage is …. the BEST.  EVER.

Mushroom Ravioli and Sausage Casserole is not, by any stretch of the imagination, a light dish.  However it isn’t as over-the-top as you’d think.  It really works and actually comes together as a somewhat presentable dish.  And while it would be perfectly acceptable to serve this dish at a casual dinner party with friends, my preferred situation for it is curled up on the couch in my jammies.  This big dish of deliciousness comes from Food Network Magazine.

Mushroom Ravioli and Sausage Casserole

Serves 4

Ingredients:

Kosher salt

3 tablespoons unsalted butter

1 onion, finely chopped

10 ounces white mushrooms, thinly sliced

Freshly ground pepper

6 ounces mild Italian sausage, casings removed

3 cloves garlic (2 thinly sliced, 1 grated)

2 teaspoons fresh marjoram, chopped [I used oregano]

1 28-ounce can crushed tomatoes

2 10-ounce packages refrigerated mushroom ravioli

1 cup shredded mozzarella cheese

1/4 cup breadcrumbs

1 tablespoon chopped fresh parsley

Procedure:

  1. Preheat the broiler. Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil. Melt 2 tablespoons butter in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Add the onion, mushrooms, 1/4 teaspoon salt and a few grinds of pepper. Cook until the vegetables are beginning to brown, 5 to 8 minutes. Add the sausage and cook, breaking up the meat, until no longer pink, about 4 minutes. Add the sliced garlic and marjoram (or oregano) and cook until softened, 1 more minute. Add the tomatoes and 1/4 cup water, bring to a simmer and cook until the vegetables are tender and the sauce has thickened slightly, about 6 minutes.
  2. Meanwhile, cook the ravioli in the boiling water as the label directs. Reserve 1/4 cup cooking water, then drain. Add the ravioli and the reserved cooking water to the sauce; stir to coat. Transfer half of the ravioli and sauce to a 9-by-13-inch broiler-proof baking dish. Sprinkle with 1/2 cup mozzarella. Top with the remaining ravioli, sauce and mozzarella.
  3. Meanwhile, microwave the remaining 1 tablespoon butter in a small microwave-safe bowl until melted. Stir in the grated garlic and breadcrumbs; season with salt and pepper. Sprinkle over the baked ravioli and broil until browned on top, about 2 minutes. Top with the parsley.

Weekly Winner: Farro + Fennel + Feta = Fantastic Fall Feast (in a bowl!)

farro bowlThis dish should not be this good.  There is no rational reason for it.  I mean, I knew it would be OK, a unique new lunch, but seriously…. I just kept eating it and asking “Why is this so delicious”!!  The name certainly doesn’t hint at the unique combination of tastiness that awaits — Farro Bowl with Pomegranate Vinaigrette.  Yawn, right??  No!

There’s just something about the combination of the caramelized sweet potatoes, raw fennel, earthy farro, and tangy feta cheese that just keeps you coming back from more.

All I can tell you is just make this mysterious grain bowl and surprise yourself.  Then, maybe you can let me know why it’s so dang good!  The recipe comes from Real Simple Magazine.

Farro Bowl with Pomegranate Vinaigrette

Serves 4

Ingredients:

1-1/2 cups uncooked farro

6 Tbsp olive oil, divided

1 large sweet potato, peeled and cut into 3/4-inch chunks

1 tsp kosher salt, divided

1 large shallot, finely chopped (about 1/4 cup)

1 cup refrigerated pomegranate juice

1 Tbsp red wine vinegar

2 tsp Dijon mustard

1/4 tsp black pepper

2 cups baby spinach

1 medium fennel bulb, halved and thinly sliced, plus chopped fronds for serving

1/2 cup crumbled feta cheese (about 2 oz)

Procedure:

  • Bring a large pot of water to a boil over high. Stir in farro and bring to a simmer. Reduce heat to medium-low; cook, uncovered, stirring occasionally, until tender, about 20 minutes. Drain and place in a large bowl.
  • While farro cooks, heat 1 tablespoon oil in a large skillet over medium. Add sweet potato, ¼ cup water, and ¼ teaspoon salt; cover and steam for 5 minutes. Uncover and continue to cook, stirring occasionally, until water evaporates and sweet potato is tender and browned, 10 to 12 minutes. Transfer to bowl with farro
  • Heat 1 tablespoon oil in same skillet over medium. Add shallot and cook, stirring often, until softened, 3 to 4 minutes. Add pomegranate juice; cook, stirring occasionally, until reduced to ½ cup, 8 to 10 minutes. Whisk in vinegar, mustard, pepper, and remaining ¾ teaspoon salt. Remove from heat and gradually whisk remaining ¼ cup oil into dressing.
  • Add ¾ cup dressing to farro mixture and toss to coat. Add spinach and fennel; toss gently. Divide among 4 bowls and drizzle with remaining dressing. Top with cheese and garnish with fennel fronds.

 

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