Farrotto Butternut Squash Farro Risotto loaded with perfectly roasted butternut squash cubes and finished with a crispy sage brown butter drizzle. An easy, hearty, meatless and festive recipe not to be missed.
In a nutshell what you have here is a creamy risotto where farro grains are used instead of rice and slowly infused with a divine saffron veggie broth, just like you would a classic risotto.
The perfect meal for the Thanksgiving and Christmas holiday dinners ahead. No meat, no dairy, only goodness bursting with comforting fall flavors from crispy sage and sweet caramelized nutty butternut squash.
- Farro – This chewy and nutty ancient grain comes in a few varieties, from whole grain to pearled or semi-pearled. Most grocery stores sell the pearled variety even if that isn’t specified on the package. It has part or all of the bran removed and cooks the fastest. If using the whole grain variety, it is recommended to soak it for a few hours in warm water, drain and then give it a buzz in the food processor to crack the grains and prep them for better and quicker absorption of the broth.
- Butternut Squash – The sweetest of all squashes that perfectly lends itself to roasting. A light drizzle of olive and a pinch of salt at 400″F for half an hour will yield a soft center and dreamy caramelized edges. Yes, you can use frozen squash and up the roasting time by 10 to 15 minutes. Alternatively roasted Acorn squash sliced into wedges would also be lovely.
- Sage Brown Butter Sauce (Buro Bruno e Salvia) – Fresh sage leaves are fried in a cultured dairy free butter until perfectly crispy. The brown butter sauce is then poured over the top of the butternut squash and finished with a handful of festive dried cranberries. Perfection!
- Substitutions – The best substitute for farro in my opinion are wheat berries. However, those ancient grains definitely need an overnight soak in warm water and take longer to cook, but they are more nutritious with a richer nutty flavor profile and super delicious in a risotto. You could also sub with barley and adjust cooking times until tender to your liking.
- Toppings – If you aren’t feeling the roasted butternut squash quite yet you could go for a Farrotto Pomodoro much like I did here with this Fregola pasta. Or go wild with a mix of mushrooms, caramelized onions, grilled asparagus, zucchini or marinated artichoke hearts and a drizzle of basil pesto. Stir in some dark leafy greens like baby kale and cook just until wilted, top with tons of fresh herbs for a risotto di verdure. Think of any vegetables you can pop in the oven: roasted broccoli, sweet potato cubes, beets, carrots, a caramelized fennel bulb etc..
How to Make Farrotto Butternut Squash Risotto
- Preheat your oven to 400″F and roast the butternut squash cubes.
- Warm up the veggie broth and infuse with the saffron.
- Preheat a large skillet and saute the onion in a drizzle of olive oil until soft. Add the chopped sage and farro grains ,toss to coat then add the white wine. Cook until evaporated then add the reserved butternut and bay leaf.
- Start adding ladlefuls of the broth just enough to cover the grains. Stir to incorporate and simmer until almost all has been absorbed. Repeat with the remaining broth making sure not to let the grains dry out.
- Remove from heat and stir in the Violife parmesan + 1/3 of the roasted squash. Cover with a lid and allow to rest.
- Melt the butter over medium low heat and fry the sage leaves until crispy.
- Top the risotto with the remaining butternut squash and drizzle with the crispy sage sauce. Serve hot with dried cranberries and Italian parsley.
Farrotto Butternut Squash Farro Risotto
- 1 small onion diced
- 1.5 cups farro
- 2 lb butternut squash cubed (aprox 8 cups)
- 1/2 cup dry white wine
- 6 cups veggie broth warm & low sodium
- 1 pinch saffron
- 1 bay leaf
- 5 sage leaves chopped
- 1/3 cup dried cranberries for garnish
- 1/3 cup Violife parmesan cheese
- 1/3 cup flat leaf Italian parsley chopped
Brown Butter Sage Sauce (Burro Bruno e Salvia)
- 8 Tbsp cultured plant based butter (I used Miyoko’s European)
- 15 leaves fresh sage
- Preheat your oven to 400”F.
- Reserve 1 cup of the cubes butternut squash and transfer the rest to a large rimmed baking sheet lined with parchment paper.
- Drizzle the butternut with a light drizzle of olive oil and sprinkle with a pinch of sea salt. Toss to coat well and roast in the preheated oven for 35 minutes or so until the edges start to caramelized to a nice golden brown color.
Make the Farroto
- Bring the vegetable broth to a simmer and mix in the saffron. Remove from heat and keep warm.
- Preheat a large pan over medium low heat and saute the onion in a drizzle of olive oil until soft and translucent.
- Stir in the chopped sage leaves and the farro then toss to coat all over. Toast together with the onion for a couple of minutes then add the white wine. Continue simmering until all the wine has evaporated.
- Stir in the reserved 1 cup pf butternut squash, bay leaf and a couple of ladlefuls of the saffron infused veggie broth, just enough to cover the farro. Stir well and bring to a simmer. Cook uncovered on medium heat stirring often and adding more of the veggie broth as the farro absorb its. Don’t allow the grains to completely dry out.
- Continue for about 35 minutes or so, until the farro has absorbed all of the broth but is still very creamy and a little bit loose.
- Remove from heat, stir in the Violife parmesan, chopped parsley, 1/3 of the roasted butternut squash and cover with a lid. Allow to rest for 5 minutes while you make the butter sage sauce.
Brown Butter Sage Sauce
- Add the butter to a light colored pan over medium low heat. As soon as it starts foaming up drop in the sage leaves and cook for 3 to 5 minutes. Do not stir.
- The butter will continue foaming up and turn brown. As soon as the foam subsides remove from heat. The sage leaves should be perfectly crispy at this stage.
- Plate the farro risotto and top with the roasted butternut squash cubes.
- Pour the brown butter with the sage leaves over the butternut squash risotto and serve promptly sprinkled with cranberries, extra Violife parmesan and a few leaves of Parsley for garnish..
- Substitutions - The best substitute for farro in my opinion are wheat berries. However those definitely need an overnight soak in warm water and take longer to cook but they are more nutritious with a nuttier richer flavor profile and super delicious in a risotto. You could also sub with barley and adjust cooking times until tender to your liking.
- Toppings - if you aren't feeling the roasted butternut squash quite yet you could go for a Farrotto Pomodoro much like I did here with this Fregola pasta. Or go wild with a mix of mushrooms, caramelized onions, grilled asparagus, zucchini or marinated artichoke hearts and a drizzle of basil pesto. Stir in some dark leafy greens like baby kale and cook just until wilted, top with tons of fresh herbs for a risotto di verdure. Think of anything you can pop in the oven: roasted broccoli, sweet potato cubes, beets, carrots, a caramelized fennel bulb etc..