This salad is a perfect example of how small details make a big impact. Butternut squash is thinly sliced (instead of cubed), roasted at high heat, and tossed with toasted almonds, farro, plumped raisins, and lively greens. Everything’s in perfect balance, too, since the farro nestles up with the butternut squash (instead of hogging the bowl). But by far my favorite part of this salad is the curried brown butter, which is used in two ways: when roasting the butternut squash, and for toasting the farro. I’ve toasted farro countless times in olive oil to enhance its nutty flavor, but until making this salad, I’d never toasted farro in brown butter or curry powder (let alone brown butter and curry powder). Now I can’t stop. The finished salad has lots of verve and complexity, and it’s hearty enough to call dinner (and lunch the next day). —EmilyC
Test Kitchen Notes
Throughout the cold-weather season, we rely on pantry ingredients like dried herbs and spice blends to transport our kitchens to a warmer place. That's why we've partnered with The Spice Hunter, makers of a lively curry seasoning blend, to bring you this recipe. —The Editors
medium butternut squash (about 2 lbs)
large shallot, thinly sliced (about 3/4 cup)
curry powder, such as The Spice Hunter's Curry Seasoning Blend
uncooked pearled farro
white wine vinegar, plus more to taste
extra-virgin olive oil, plus more to taste
Heat oven to 425°F. Line sheet pan with parchment.
Peel the butternut squash, cut in half lengthwise, and remove the seeds. Separate the long neck of the squash from the round base. Cut the neck again in half lengthwise (you’ll have four segments). Working with one segment at a time, thinly slice crosswise into 1/4-inch slices. Cut the rounded end of the squash into similarly-sized slices. Add the squash and shallots to the prepared sheet pan, and season with kosher salt.
In a 2 to 3-quart saucepan, melt the butter over medium heat and cook until it turns brown and smells nutty, about 5 minutes. Stir frequently, scraping up any browned bits from the bottom so they don’t burn. Off the heat, add the curry powder and stir well to incorporate. Remove 4 tablespoons of the curried brown butter from the saucepan and drizzle it over the squash and shallots, tossing well to evenly distribute. Leave the remaining 2 tablespoons of curried brown butter in the saucepan.
Roast the squash and shallots for about 20 to 25 minutes, or until the squash is just tender. Add the almonds to the sheet pan, and continue roasting for another 5 minutes to 7 minutes, or until lightly toasted. Remove the pan from the oven.
While the squash and shallots are roasting, return the saucepan to medium heat, and add the farro to the curried brown butter, stirring to coat the grains evenly. Cook, stirring frequently, until toasted, 3 to 5 minutes. Add a generous pinch of salt and 5 cups of water. Bring to a boil, then turn down the heat and simmer until the farro is tender, about 25 minutes (or according to package directions). Drain the farro, and return to the saucepan. Immediately stir in white wine vinegar, extra-virgin olive oil, a pinch of salt, and raisins (which will plump in the warm farro). Let cool for several minutes, then adjust seasoning and acidity to taste.
Once the squash and shallots have cooled for about 5 to 10 minutes, toss in the farro and greens on the sheet pan. Taste again, adding white wine vinegar and salt if needed. Finish with a thin drizzle of extra-virgin olive oil, if desired, though I usually find none is needed. Transfer to a serving platter or bowl, and serve warm or at room temperature.