Stuffed Butternut Squash with Farro, Cranberries, Pecans, and Goats Cheese

I always joke about starting posts with apologies for my inactivity, but this year really has performed particularly badly in the blog post stakes thus far. Switzerland is in a kind of lockdown (restaurants & non-essential shops closed, university online, the works) and the mundanity of everyday life at the moment is getting to me a bit. Even cooking, normally my refuge, feels uninspired. I also haven’t been able to turn to obsessive running as an outlet because my hip is being uncooperative. So… I’m sorry for the inactivity.

On the topic of feeling uninspired, stuffed anything does feel like a bit of a cliche vegetarian meal, but this is easy, healthy, and fairly impressive in appearance. Farro, my favourite grain, makes an appearance, but can easily be substituted for quinoa, buckwheat, pearl barley, or otherwise. I served this with some roasted sprouts, on a bed of rocket tossed with balsamic and the remaining grain mix that wouldn’t fit in the squash!

Serves 2

Ingredients

For the stuffed squash:

1x butternut squash
You only need the ‘stuffable’ base part, so either wrap the rest and keep in the fridge or roast for use in other dishes as I did. My base, pre-seed removal, weighed 400g, from a squash weighing a total of 900g.
1/2 cup uncooked farro
20g chopped pecans
25g dried cranberries
75g goats cheese
Salad leaves, to serve
Salt and pepper, to taste

For the dressing:

2 tbsp balsamic vinegar
2 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
1 tsp maple syrup / honey
2 tsp mustard (preferably wholegrain)
Salt & pepper, to taste

Method

1- Roast the squash. Halve the bottom part (as below), deseed, and place in oven at 180ºc fan for 45 minutes. I keep the skin on (it’s tasty and extra fibre) but if you don’t fancy it, peel.

2- Meanwhile, cook the farro in ca. 1 1/4 cup water or stock.

3- While the farro cooks, chop the pecans and cranberries and mix the dressing.

5- Stir 75% of the pecan-cranberry mix and some of the dressing into the cooked farro mix, keeping some of both to top the squash and dress the salad leaves.

6- Spoon farro mix into the hollow parts of the squash, crumble or slice goats cheese on top (depending on the consistency of said goats cheese) and top it off with the remaining 25% of the cranberry-pecan mix. Any farro that doesn’t fit into the squash can be mixed into the salad leaves. Return to oven on 180ºc for roughly 10 minutes, or until the goats cheese is becoming golden.

7- Remove from oven and serve atop salad leaves.

Serving Suggestions / Swaps / Tips

The squash can be roasted in advance. To bulk it up, I suggest roasting some cubes of the remaining upper part of the squash and throwing them into the salad too. Walnuts or pumpkin seeds would take the place of pecans nicely, and as I mentioned, virtually any grain will work in the place of farro.

Leftover Rating: 1/3 if assembled, but 3/3 if you wait before putting everything together at the final stage.

I’ll be back, I promise!

-Alice

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