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Author Notes: We eat this cool weather dish in its original semi-vegetarian version and also with the addition of slivered duck or sliced duck sausage. —LE BEC FIN
- 2 1- 1 1/2 pound buttercup or kabocha squash
- 3-4 cups warm water
- 1 cup farro
- 8 cups water
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
- 2 tablespoons unsalted butter
- 1/4 cup chopped shallots
- 1/2 tablespoon minced fresh sage
- 2/3 cup dry vermouth
- 2 cups chicken stock (or water or duck stock), heated
- 3/4-1 cups Parmesan cheese, ground fine
- 1/2 pound chanterelles,cleaned, sliced and sauteed in oil or butter
- 1/3 cup chopped toasted walnuts
- kosher salt
- freshly ground black pepper
- 4 fresh sage leaves, about 2 inches long
- 2 cups canola oil
- Prepare squash: Cut off the top third of each squash and set aside for future use. Scoop out the seeds and fibers in each squash. Turn them upside down and place in a baking pan or shallow casserole holding 1 1/2 inches of warm water. Roast in 400 degree oven until a skewer easily pierces the flesh. While squash are cooking, prepare the farro. When squash are done, remove pan from the oven. Remove squash and turn rightside up in an oiled baking pan.
- Prepare Risotto: Soak farro in cold water 20 minutes. Drain, rinse. Bring to boil 8 cups water in covered medium saucepan. uncover and add farro. Simmer 20 minutes, drain and rinse.
- Melt 1 tablespoon each of butter and oil. Add shallots and sage; sautee a few minutes until shallots are translucent and not browned. Add farro and vermouth. Simmer until almost all liquid evaporates, stirring frequently, about 5 minutes. Add hot chicken broth 1 cup at a time and simmer until liquid is absorbed and farro is just tender, stirring frequently, about 15 minutes total. Stir in Parmesan, walnuts,and 1 tablespoon butter. Season to taste with salt and pepper. Keep partially covered to retain heat.
- Heat 2 cups of canola oil to 375 degrees. Fry sage leaves, turning once, for 1-2 minutes minutes until crisp; drain on paper towels and pat dry.
- Fill each squash with farro risotto, leaving 1/2 inch edge of squash. Bake squash in 350 degree oven until farro filling is hot when tested with a skewer. Remove from oven. Top each squash with a chevron of 2 fried sage leaves and serve.