You might not be familiar with red kuri squash, which looks like a mini pumpkin (it's about 4-5 inches in diameter) and which is undoubtedly my favorite type of winter squash. In French red kuri squash is called potimarron, translating to something like "chestnut pumpkin," and this name more aptly describes the deep and chestnutty flavor red kuri squash develops when cooked. Made with silky leeks and nutty farro, this is a healthy recipe that is sure to please almost any palate.
Note: If you can't find red kuri squash, any other squash of similar size (roughly 4 1/2 inches in diameter), such as acorn squash, will also work in the recipe.
If you decide that you want to double the recipe, you can do that very easily: Keep all amounts the same, just up the broth to 2 cups, and the farro to 2/3 cup. You may want to add more chopped parsley and fresh Parmesan cheese.
- 1 red kuri squash, peeled and cut into 1/4-inch cubes
- 2 tablespoons olive oil, divided
- 1 teaspoon brown sugar
- 2 cups vegetable broth
- 1 small onion or shallot, chopped
- 1 leek, green stalks and stem removed, rinsed, and thinly sliced crosswise
- 1/3 cup pearled farro
- 1/4 cup dry white wine
- 2 tablespoons freshly grated Parmesan cheese
- 1 tablespoon freshly chopped parsley
- Salt and pepper, to taste
Preheat the oven to 400 degrees.
Toss the red kuri with 1 tablespoon olive oil and brown sugar on a lined baking sheet. Bake in oven until soft and slightly browned, about 15-20 minutes.
Meanwhile, bring the vegetable broth to a simmer in a small saucepan. In another small saucepan, heat the remaining tablespoon olive oil over medium heat. Add the onion and stir until softened, about 3-4 minutes.
Add the leek and cook until silky and softened, about 8 minutes. Gently break apart leek rounds with a wooden spoon. Add the farro, and toast in saucepan for 1 minute. Then add the white wine, and cook until all liquid is evaporated.
Add a ladleful of broth and simmer, reducing heat as necessary, until broth is absorbed. Continue adding ladles of broth until the farro is fully cooked, making sure that each ladle full is absorbed before adding another, about 18 minutes.
Once the farro is fully cooked (you can cover the pot for 5 minutes to ensure doneness), add red kuri cubes. Remove from the heat and stir in the Parmesan and parsley. Season to taste with salt and pepper, and add additional Parmesan if desired.