Squash and Raab

You know what I love? A clever comedy character name - like pretty much anyone in arrested development (bob loblaw comes to mind...). What's even better, though, is when it includes a food reference. Color me happy! Of course, the first one that springs to mind is gene parmesan (also from arrested dev). Who could forget Lucille's high-pitched squeal whenever he reveals his true identity: "GEEEEEEEEEEENE!" A classic choice is peppermint patty from peanuts. What a brilliant name! And now I want candy...

But the most recent and elusive TV character named after food is Broccoli Rob (from the Office), who we never actually meet, but who Andy is jealous of. But I don't really care about his back story, that is an amazing name. However, I have a feeling the Brits might not fully appreciate the pun. The vegetable broccoli raab isn't generally grown on these shores, but a similar vegetable is - purple sprouting broccoli. They look virtually identical, except for the colors of course. but for anyone who finds they don't generally like broccoli, this stuff is a nice alternative. The flowery heads are much smaller, the leaves are bigger, the stems are longer and thinner, and best of all - it's purple!

(And to put my nutrition nerd glasses on for a minute, all broccoli is jampacked with vitamins C, K, and A - not to mention folate and fiber. Okay, I'm done. Glasses off.)

Even though it's not strictly in season right now, the fruit and veg stall at my local farmer's market had some beautiful bunches of it this weekend, so I had to bring some home and add it to our dinner. We had ours simply steamed with some parmesan sprinkled on top - although, I opted for rawmesan on mine. Delicious!

The other half to my dinner plate was a warm farro salad with roasted squashes (also picked up at the market) and rosemary (from my grandmother's garden). Speaking of farro, I saw an ad in a health magazine the other day for spelt milk! Though I don't think I'll be paying almost £18 for it :)

Roasted Squash Farro Salad

serves 4

The particulars:

  • 2 small squashes (i used butternut and acorn, but feel free to substitute accordingly), deseeded and chopped (skin left on)
  • 1 red onion, peeled and chopped into wedges
  • 3 cloves garlic, peeled and roughly chopped
  • 1 red chili, finely chopped (include seeds for added heat)
  • 2 sprigs rosemary, rubbed with olive oil
  • 2 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 cup farro (spelt grains)
  • 1/2 cup walnuts, roughly chopped
  1. Heat the oven to 425F. Toss the squashes, onion, garlic, red chili, and rosemary in a roasting tin with the olive oil and some salt and pepper. Place in the hot oven and roast for 30-40 minutes, turning occasionally, until the squash is softened and browning at the edges.
  2. Meanwhile, cook the farro in a saucepan with 3 cups water for about 30 minutes, until softened ("al dente").
  3. Just before everything is ready, toast the walnuts in a small, dry frying pan until just golden.
  4. Toss everything together in a large bowl and serve warm with something green (i.e. broccoli raab!)