If you have been listening to what Michael Pollan has been saying, you know that eating less meat and more plants is healthier for us and our planet. With the holidays quickly approaching, this may not be the easiest time to change steadfast traditions like a 24-hour-Thanksgiving-turkey-binge. I am starting to think about meat more as a side dish or flavoring, rather than as the main attraction but I’m not quite ready to go cold turkey. A little bacon (especially from Skagit River Ranch ) can go a long way toward bringing any vegetable up to the standards set by even the most avid carnivores.
I’ll admit that I don’t have many purely vegetarian entrees in my current repertoire so when I saw a complete Thanksgiving feast in the latest Gourmet, I had to try some of the dishes. Not that I’ll be serving Mushroom and Farro Pie for Turkey Day but it is definitely delicious enough for a dinner party. This dish stars our poster child of Pacific Northwest grains — farro, which in itself was enough to get me to try this recipe. If you haven’t tried farro yet, we have some great recipes on the blog — farro risotto and farro with herbs. This pie reminded me of the mushroom strudel I used to make years ago from Mollie Katzen’s classic, The Moosewood Cookbook. Does anyone else remember that dish?
I’m not going to recount the entire recipe here since it is rather long and you can find it on Gourmet’s website but here are a few things worth noting. Their method of cooking farro, which btw you can get from Bluebird Grain Farms , was much faster than what I’ve done in the past. You cover the farro with cold water and soak for 30 minutes before cooking, drain and then simmer in more water for 20 minutes. Voila! It’s done. I also used mixed wild mushrooms rather than the creminis they suggested. Most of the rest of the ingredients can be found locally. I even found a local brand of puff pastry made by Aussie Bakery.
I served Mushroom and Farro Pie with Parmesan-Roasted Butternut Squash also from Gourmet and a dish I wouldn’t hesitate to include in a non-vegetarian Thanksgiving feast or any time for that matter. Couldn’t have been easier and was so incredible I have to give you the recipe. Yum — a new favorite is discovered.
Parmesan-Roasted Butternut Squash
1 Butternut Squash, peeled and cut into 1″ pieces
3/4 cup heavy cream
3 sage leaves cut into strips
2/3 cup grated Parmesan cheese
Preheat the oven to 400 degrees
Toss squash with cream, sage, salt & pepper in a shallow baking dish.
Bake covered for 30 minutes.
Stir in 1/2 cheese and sprinkle the rest on top.
Roast, uncovered, for about 30 minutes more until the squash is tender and the top is golden brown.
Let it stand for 10 minutes before serving so the cream can thicken.
If you make the farro pie at the same time, you can bake them together, switching positions half-way through.