Roasted seasonal vegetables with farro salad
Some of my favorite dishes seem too simple to record on this blog, like proudly stating the obvious only to land in a puddle of second-guessing and embarrassment. Yet, when I do write them down, I usually end up consulting the method repeatedly. It may be some things seem to easy to bother remembering, despite knowing that little changes in things like seasoning and cook time yield totally different dishes. At the same time, the fact that some things are so simple is a huge part of what makes them so wonderful. So it is with these roasted vegetables over farro in a light dressing.
I love roast vegetables any season, but autumn makes them especially appealing, with the bright colors and crisp mellow sweetness mirroring the beauty of earth's offerings. I love how forgiving a meal centered on an assortment of them can be. You don't have to measure, or be specific about what to include. You can make the same general dish a few weeks in a row and have it appear and taste completely different. You really can't go all that wrong.
There's nothing mysterious or novel about roasting up a bunch of vegetables though, so I wouldn't have considered posting it, except that we went to Steamboat one weekend in July for the Mt. Werner 50K (thank you, Melissa and James, for coming too!!), and the last night we went to this lovely riverside little farm-to-table restaurant called Sweet Pea's Kitchen. The clean, inspired menu featured "Market fresh local vegetables with farro". We shared it, and it was DELICIOUS, and BEAUTIFUL. I wish I'd taken a picture to show you, though then there'd be the inevitable sorry comparison with the image of how I plated at home.
I have no idea what Sweet Pea uses to dress the chewy, nutty farro, but I have been using a simple dressing of olive oil and apple cider vinegar I modified just a bit from one of my favorite salads from Giada de Laurentis, which also showcases roasted vegetables. It's light, subtly sweet and tangy, and a lovely accent to the other ingredients. A gluten-free option was also available, served over quinoa and amaranth! Next time, not long from now. This is a regular, and was even Little Monkey's birthday dinner. Again he did us proud proving his evolving, adventurous and hopefully wholesome palate. This dish has become our rustic and elegant staple--it was even Maybe some version is, or will be, yours, too. :)
Roast seasonal vegetables with farro (or other grain) serves 6
- 1 1/2 cups farro
- 4 cups water
Approximately 8 cups seasonal vegetables of choice, peeled if needed and cut into approximately 1-inch chunks or pieces, such as:
- 2 medium carrots
- 1 medium parsnip
- 1 sweet potato
- 1 turnip
- 1 red pepper
- 1 zucchini 2 beets, 1 red and 1 golden (roast cubed with the rest, or leave whole, wrapped in foil until cooked, then allow to cool slightly, wash off skin and cut)
- Combine farro and water in a medium saucepan. Bring to a boil over high heat. Reduce the heat to medium-low, cover, and simmer until the farro is tender, about 30 minutes. Drain well, and then transfer to a large bowl to cool.
- Preheat oven to 400°. (If cooking whole, wrap beets in foil and place on a baking sheet to begin roasting in oven while prepping remaining ingredients; add the rest of the vegetables after 15-20 minutes.) Place vegetables on a roasting pan or baking sheet. Drizzle with olive oil and sprinkle with salt and pepper. Toss gently with your hands to coat. Break up 3 rosemary sprigs and sprinkle over mixture.
- Roast vegetables 30-40 minutes, or until lightly browned and tender. Stir gently with a metal spatula midway.
- Remove from oven and season to taste with salt and pepper. Serve over farro with dressing (see below).
For the dressing:
- 2 tablespoons apple cider vinegar
- squeeze of lemon
- 1 tablespoon honey
- Generous dash each of sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
- 1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil
In a medium bowl, whisk all ingredients until blended. Stir in farro to coat once cooled.