Adapted from 101 Cookbooks, this recipe can be adapted to suit various creative whims.
• 2 cups farro, rinsed and drained
• 2 teaspoons fine-grained sea salt
• 5 cups water or stock
• 3 cups sweet potato, peeled and cut into ½-inch dice
• 1 red onion, cut into eighths
• 1 teaspoon dried thyme (or 1 tablespoon fresh)
• 3 tablespoons olive oil
• 1 tablespoon balsamic vinegar
• 1 cup walnuts, deeply toasted
• 3 tablespoons toasted walnut oil (or olive oil)
• 1 bunch chard
• ¼ cup crumbled goat cheese
Preheat oven to 400 degrees F.
Combine the farro, salt, and water in a saucepan over medium heat. Cover and simmer, stirring occasionally, for about one hour, until it is tender but still has some structure. Remove from heat, drain excess water, and set aside.
While the farro is cooking, toss the sweet potatoes, onion, and thyme with one tablespoon of the olive oil, the balsamic vinegar, and some salt on baking sheet. Arrange in a single layer and place in the oven for about half an hour to 45 minutes. Toss them every seven minutes or so to make sure they're browning on all sides. Remove from oven, let cool, and mince half of the onions.
While the squash is in the oven, wash the chard and then add it to a sauté pan with olive oil so that it wilts. Cook it only until it starts to wilt—you don't want it to taste raw, but you also don't want it to lose all its structure.
In a large bowl combine the farro, sweet potatoes, onions, and chard, and toss with the walnut oil or more olive oil. Taste and add salt if necessary. Serve, and garnish bowls with goat cheese.
To read Anastasia Curley's account of preparing food with an improvisational spirit, click here.