Butternut Barley Salad
This is a good recipe for lunch or dinner -the vinegary onion makes it refreshing, more like a salad than a main course, and it is perfect for eating warm right when you make it, or cold the next day.
1 medium butternut squash (2-3 pounds)
1/2 pound turnips
?5 to 6 tablespoons olive oil, divided
?Salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste?
1 cup pearled barley?
1/3 cup toasted squash seeds (or any seed or nut will be tasty)?
3 ounces ricotta salata or another salty cheese, crumbled or coarsely grated (about 3/4 cup)?
1 tablespoon sherry or white wine vinegar
?1 tablespoon water?
1/2 teaspoon table salt?
1/2 teaspoon granulated sugar
1 bunch red kale, leaves roughly chopped
1/2 small red onion, finely chopped
Preheat oven to 375 degrees F.
Peel squash, then halve lengthwise and scoop out seeds. Cut squash and turnips into approximately 3/4-inch chunks. Coat one large or two small baking sheets with 2 tablespoons oil total. Spread squash and turnips out in single layer on sheet. Sprinkle with salt and freshly ground black pepper. Roast until pieces are tender, about 30 to 40 minutes, turning them over halfway through the cooking time. Set aside to cool slightly.
While squash and turnips are roasting, cook barley in a large pot of simmering salted water until the grains are tender but chewy, 25-30 minutes. Drain and cool slightly.
In a small bowl, whisk together the vinegar, water, 1/2 teaspoon table salt and granulated sugar until sugar and salt dissolve. Stir in onion; it will barely be covered by vinegar mixture but don’t worry. Cover and set in fridge until needed; 30 minutes is ideal but less time will still make a lovely, lightly pickled onion.
Pour a tablespoon of olive oil into a sauce pan over medium heat, and cook the kale for just a few minutes, until wilted and slightly tender.
In a large bowl, mix together squash, turnips, barley, kale, red onion and its vinegar brine, the crumbled cheese and squash seeds. Toss with 3 tablespoons of the remaining olive oil, use the 4th one only if needed. Taste and adjust seasonings. Eat now or later. Salad keeps in the fridge for up to a week.
Saffron Risotto with Butternut Squash
From Annie: This recipe is one my mom started making late in her cooking career, but it is undeniably one my favorite home meals. I made a copy of the recipe when I was a teenager, and I literally still have that piece of paper (stained and re-folded almost until you can't read it) tucked on a shelf in my apartment. It is much more rich and decadent than the barley salad - just serve it with a salad on the side and your dinner is full and complete. The saffron is expensive, a total splurge. You don't need it - the risotto is delicious regardless - but it is well worth trying it once. Saffron has a unique flavor, and the cooking process fills your home with a wonderful smell. No one can ever guess what it is.
1 butternut squash (2-3 pounds)
2 tablespoons olive oil
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
6 cups chicken stock, preferably homemade
6 tablespoons (3/4 stick) unsalted butter
2 ounces pancetta or bacon, diced
1/2 cup minced shallots or yellow onion
1 1/2 cups (10 ounces) pearled barley (or Arborio rice)
1/2 cup dry white wine
1 teaspoon saffron threads (optional, see note above)
1 cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese
Preheat the oven to 400 degrees.
Peel the butternut squash, remove the seeds, and cut it into 3/4-inch cubes. You should have about 6 cups. Place the squash on a sheet pan and toss it with the olive oil, 1 teaspoon salt, and 1/2 teaspoon pepper. Roast for 25 to 30 minutes, tossing once, until very tender. Set aside.
Meanwhile, heat the chicken stock in a small covered saucepan. Leave it on low heat to simmer.
In a heavy-bottomed pot or Dutch oven, melt the butter and saute the pancetta (or bacon) and shallots on medium-low heat for 10 minutes, until the shallots are translucent but not browned. Add the rice and stir to coat the grains with butter. Add the wine and cook for 2 minutes. Add 2 full ladles of stock to the rice plus the saffron, 1 teaspoon salt, and 1/2 teaspoon pepper. Stir, and simmer until the stock is absorbed, 5 to 10 minutes.
Continue to add the stock, 2 ladles at a time, stirring every few minutes. Each time, cook until the mixture seems a little dry, then add more stock. Continue until the rice is cooked through, but still al dente, about 30 minutes total. Off the heat, add the roasted squash cubes and Parmesan cheese. Mix well and serve.
Pasta with Garlicky Red Kale
This is a quick and easy dinner, a great healthy last-minute option.
1 pound pasta, whatever shape you like (but chunky ones will match up better with the kale)
?1 pound red kale, stems removed, leaves cut into 1- to 2-inch sections
1/2 cup olive oil
?5 garlic cloves, peeled and minced or pressed
?1/2 teaspoon red pepper flakes or 1 teaspoon finely chopped jalapeno, more or less to taste
?About 1 heaping teaspoon Kosher salt (or more to taste)
To serve: Grated Parmesan or Romano cheese
Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil. Add pasta and five minutes before its cooking time is up, add the kale. It will seem like too much for the water, but with a stir or two, the rabe should wilt and cook alongside the pasta. Drain kale and pasta together and pour into serving bowl. In the same pot or a tiny one, heat the olive oil with the garlic, pepper or pepper flakes and Kosher salt over moderate heat, stirring frequently for 3 to 4 minutes, or until the garlic becomes lightly golden. Pour mixture over pasta and toss to evenly coat. Shower with freshly grated cheese and eat at once.
Mushroom and Barley Soup
This recipe makes about 7 cups. Nothing better to warm you up on a gray day in early November.
?2 tablespoons oil
?1 medium onion, diced
?1 medium carrot, diced?
2 cloves garlic, minced?
1 pound fresh mushrooms?
1/2 cup pearled barley, farro, or spelt, rinsed?
6 cups vegetable or chicken stock?
1/4 cup dry sherry (optional, adds a lot of flavor)?
1 tablespoon tomato paste?
Salt and pepper to taste?
1 tablespoon sherry vinegar
Heat oil in heavy-bottomed deep pot. Sauté onions and carrots over medium heat until onions begin to color, about 10 to 15 minutes. Add garlic, and sauté for 30 seconds. Add fresh mushrooms, and cook until they begin to release liquid, about 5 to 10 minutes. Raise heat and add barley; sauté until it begins to color (this didn’t really happen for me, because the mushroom liquid was still sloshing about). Add broth, sherry and tomato paste. Season with salt and pepper, and simmer for about 40 minutes, until barley is tender. Stir in sherry vinegar; adjust seasonings and serve.
Potato/Turnip Pancakes (Latkes)
This recipe yields about a dozen 3-inch latkes. Turnips work great instead of potatoes, and these are really good with a little yogurt or creme fraiche on top, or drizzled with a little maple syrup….
1 pound potatoes or turnips, peeled
?1 small onion (4 ounces), peeled?
1/4 cup all-purpose flour?1 large egg, lightly beaten
?1 teaspoon salt
?1/4 teaspoon freshly ground pepper?
Peanut, vegetable, or sunflower oil, for frying
In a food processor or on a box grater, coarsely shred the potato and onion. For longer strands, lay the potato sideways in the chute of your food processor. Transfer to a colander or wrap in a cheesecloth sling, and squeeze as dry as possible. Let stand for 2 minutes, then squeeze dry again.
In a large bowl, whisk the flour, egg, salt and pepper together. Stir in the potato onion mixture until all pieces are evenly coated.
In a medium skillet, heat 2 tablespoons of vegetable oil until shimmering. Drop packed teaspoons of the potato mixture into the skillet and flatten them with the back of a spoon. Cook the latkes over moderately high heat until the edges are golden, about 1 1/2 minutes; flip and cook until golden on the bottom, about 1 minute. Drain on paper towels. Repeat with the remaining potato mixture, adding more oil to the skillet as needed.
Garlic Butter Roasted Mushrooms?
A very simple recipe, the best way to enjoy the flavor of the mushrooms themselves.
1 pound mushrooms, halved lengthwise if large
?2 tablespoons capers, rinsed and chopped (optional)
?3 large garlic cloves, minced
?2 tablespoons sunflower or olive oil
?3 tablespoons unsalted butter, cut into pieces
1/2 teaspoon finely chopped jalapeno (optional)
?2 teaspoons fresh lemon juice
?1/4 cup chopped flat-leaf parsley
Preheat oven to 450°F with rack in middle. Toss mushrooms with capers, garlic, oil, 1/8 teaspoon salt and several grinds of pepper in a 1 1/2- to 2-qt shallow baking dish. Top with butter and roast, stirring occasionally, until mushrooms are tender and golden and bubbly garlic sauce forms below, 15 to 20 minutes. Stir in jalapeno, lemon juice, and parsley. Serve immediately, with crusty bread on the side for swiping up the juices.