Farro risotto with roasted butternut squash and dried cranberries


1½-2 pound butternut squash, peeled, seeded, cut into 2-inch cubes (4-5 cups)

2 tbsp. olive oil

1 tbsp. balsamic vinegar


1 sprig rosemary, leaves stripped from stem, stem discarded and leaves finely chopped

½ tsp. coarse kosher salt, plus more to taste 

Pinch of freshly ground black pepper, plus more to taste

1 bay leaf

3 thyme sprigs

2 whole cloves

½ cinnamon stick

2 tbsp. unsalted butter

3 medium shallots, peeled and minced

2 garlic cloves, peeled and minced

2 cups farro or Arborio rice (rice for risotto)

½ cup dry white wine

4 cups warm vegetable broth

¼ cup dried cranberries

1 tsp. finely grated lemon zest

¼ cup mascarpone cheese


Preheat oven to 425°. Lightly oil a large baking sheet; set aside.

Place squash in a large bowl and stir in olive oil and vinegar. Sprinkle mixture with rosemary, salt and pepper and stir to combine.

Spoon squash onto prepared baking sheet in a single layer. Bake in preheated oven for 30-40 minutes, stirring every 10 minutes, until tender and caramelized.

Set pan of squash on a cooling rack and tent with a sheet of aluminum foil to keep warm.

While squash is roasting, make risotto. Place bay leaf, thyme sprigs, cloves and half a cinnamon stick in a square of cheesecloth. Tie together; set aside.

In a large saucepan, melt butter over medium heat. Add shallots and garlic and stir until softened. Stir in farro. Increase heat and add wine, stirring until wine is almost fully absorbed.

Stir in broth and bury cheesecloth packet under farro. Cook farro uncovered, stirring occasionally, until it is just beginning to get tender, 25-30 minutes.

Remove cheesecloth packet and discard. Stir in dried cranberries, lemon zest and mascarpone cheese. Gently fold in reserved squash. Season risotto with salt and pepper as desired. Turn risotto into a serving bowl and serve warm.

Makes 4-6 side dish servings.