15-Minute Farrotto with Sage and Butternut Squash

Butternut squash and a whole-grain risotto are a hearty match made in heaven. I came across this risotto technique in the wonderful Ideas in Food blog, by Aki Kamozawa and H. Alexander Talbot, who are also the authors of the new book Ideas In Food: Great Recipes and Why They Work (Clarkson Potter). They experimented with soaking arborio rice, then adding hot stock, and cooking it for 6 minutes to yield wonderful, creamy risotto. It’s a great technique to use with whole grains like farro or barley to reduce the cooking time, yet enjoy creamy risotto-like results with tender yet al dente grains. In fact, this is now the only way I make whole-grain risotto. The plan-ahead involves nothing more than putting the grains in a pot to soak before you go to work in the morning. To make the meal come together even more quickly on a weeknight, peel and cube the squash the night before.


  • 1 cup farro perlato (or pearled barley)
  • 2-pound butternut squash, peeled, seeded and cut into 1/2-inch cubes
  • 2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil, divided
  • sea salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste
  • 3 cups vegetable stock (or chicken stock)
  • 1/2 cup onion, finely chopped
  • 1 clove garlic, minced
  • 1/4 cup dry white wine (or vermouth)
  • 2 teaspoons fresh sage, chopped
  • 1/4 cup pecorino Romano cheese, grated and divided (about 1 ounce)
  • sprigs fresh sage, for garnish


  • Place farro in a medium bowl or saucepan. Cover with cold water by 1-1/2 inches. Cover and let stand 8-12 hours.
  • Preheat oven to 400°F.
  • Toss squash with 1 tablespoon oil, salt and pepper. Spread in a single layer on a rimmed baking sheet. Bake for 25 minutes or until tender, stirring after 12 minutes.
  • While squash roasts, drain farro, spread it on a clean kitchen towel, and blot it dry.
  • Place stock in a small saucepan, and bring to a simmer. Heat a medium saucepan over medium-high heat, and add remaining 1 tablespoon oil. Add onion, and cook 3 minutes or until tender, stirring occasionally. Add garlic, and cook 30 seconds, or until fragrant. Add farro, and cook 2 minutes, stirring constantly. Add wine, and cook 1 minute, or until wine is absorbed, stirring constantly. Stir in sage. Add hot stock all at once, and bring to a boil. Reduce heat, and cook at a lively simmer for 15-17 minutes, or until farro is tender and creamy, stirring occasionally.
  • Stir in 3 tablespoons cheese and squash. Season to taste with salt and pepper. Garnish with remaining 1 tablespoon cheese and sage sprigs.
Servings: 4
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Hey there ... I'm Lia Huber

Hey there ... I'm Lia Huber

My mission is to inspire and equip you to live a richer life through real food by becoming a more competent, confident home cook.

I’m the author of Nourished: A Memoir of Food, Faith, and Enduring Love, founder and CEO of Nourish Evolution, and the creator of Cook the Seasons, Home Cooking School, and the Real Food Reset, and I empower intentional women to cook in a way that brings them (and their families) joy, health, and ease.

Making the shift from processed food to real food doesn’t happen overnight. It’s an evolution that occurs over time, with effort, intention, and belief. And it will change the course of your life. Are you ready to take the first step? I’m so glad you’re here … and I’m honored to be with you on the journey to becoming nourished!


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