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Maple Syrup-Roasted Delicata Squash and Farro–For Your Next Flight

Next time you’re on a long flight and look over at the person sitting next to you, digging into some questionable meat and protein, you can smile a little to yourself as you dig into this hearty, filling, and flavorful little one-bowl meal: maple syrup-roasted delicata squash and farro. Just saying. I used to look forward to the airplane part of trips–airplane food had some sort of mystique to it that I could really appreciate as a 10 year old. But times have changed, and these days, airplane food only kind of grosses me out. More, eating airport food just makes me feel sluggish and unhealthy. So I’ve started packing not only snacks for long plane rides (trail mix, granola bars, apples, bananans, chocolate bars) but actual meals.

The trouble with making food to take on a long flight is that lots of things get eliminated due to the fact that they’re perishable–even a sandwich is probably not the best idea. But what really works for long airplane rides is vegetarian dishes that don’t incorporate cheese and don’t need to be heated. I’m a big fan of pilafs using a variety of different grains (bulgur and eggplant, couscous and roasted peppers) and whipped this up the day before Matt and I left for Ohio for Christmas. I posted a similar recipe using barley instead of farro, and adding some parsley a while back, and decided to update it. I had a couple of small delicata squashes from our farmer’s market and a bag of semi-pearled farro, and decided to create a hearty bowl that would play up the squash’s sweetness with a little maple syrup and couple it with some earthy and nutty notes, care of the thyme and toasted pecans and walnuts.
Take note that this recipe makes A LOT, so you could definitely make some the day before your flight and have it for lunch warm, with some crumbled goat cheese on top. If you’re traveling with a family, this is probably the perfect amount–I recommend putting it in one big tupperware and bringing some disposable paper plates and forks, as well as some apples for a nutrious meal that will make you feel full–and healthy. Also, while I think this is a great take-on-your-flight lunch or dinner, don’t think I’m lowering my standards: this is a great vegetarian dinner, or a side with some grilled meat on any given weeknight. If you don’t have real maple syrup on hand, you can feel free to use some honey or agave syrup.

Maple Syrup-Roasted Delicata Squash and Farro
*makes 3-4 servings
2 ½ cups of water
1 cup of semi-pearled faro
1 small delicata squash, halved, seeded and cut into ½ inch half moons
½ teaspoon of cinnamon
Pinch or two of nutmeg
1 tablespoon of pure maple syrup, plus more for drizzling
2 tablespoons of olive oil, plus more for drizzling
1 teaspoon of dried thyme
Salt and pepper, to taste
¼ cup of pecans and/or walnuts, toasted and roughly chopped
1. Pre-heat the oven to 375 degrees F.
2. Make the farro by combining the water with the grains, bring to a boil, cover and lower to a simmer. Let simmer for about 25-30 minutes, until soft to the bite, but not completely falling apart.
3. Toss the delicata squash pieces with 1 tablespoon of olive oil and 1 tablespoon of maple syrup, thyme, cinnamon, nutmeg and salt and pepper. Spread the pieces on a Silpat or foil-lined baking sheet and roast in the oven for 12-15 minutes, until you can easily pierce the squash easily with a fork, and it has begun to turn slightly golden.
4. Drain the farro with a fine-mesh sieve and place in a large bowl. Add the roasted squash, nuts, a teaspoon or two of olive oil and a few drizzles of maple syrup. Season with a bit more salt and pepper and gently toss with a spoon. Sprinkle with more cinnamon and nutmeg, to taste.
5. Eat warm, or cold, by itself, or topped with some crumbled goat cheese.

Musical Pairings: R.E.M. – Murmurs + Maple Syrup-Roasted Delicata Squash and Farro

Kasey prepared today’s featured recipe on eating/sf (maple syrup-roasted delicata squash and farro) as a meal for us to take on the road before a long flight. It is simple, flavorful and delicious. And because it tastes great served hot or cold, it is a good recipe for when you are on the go. Today’s musical pairing to accompany this delicious vegetarian to-go recipe is R.E.M.’s timeless debut Murmur. And if I do say so myself, I think R.E.M. would approve of this pairing. After all, according to accounts of the bands early history, when R.E.M. hit the road on their first tour supporting the songs that would comprise Murmur, they lived on a food allowance of only $2 a day, and although farro is relatively expensive – you’d get a lot of bang for your buck out of this recipe. And it is hearty enough to give you the energy you’d need to drive from, say, Athens, GA, to Charlotte, NC, and still have the ability to perform a gig at the end of your trip. To read the rest of the review, head over to www.musicalpairings.com. –Matthew

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Posted by Kasey

Kasey is the food editor and co-founder of Turntable Kitchen. She loves dark chocolate, warm crusty bread, and traveling to new places. She speaks Russian, but does not like vodka.

  • Kasey, you don't peel the squash?

  • Kasey

    Kittymatt- nope! Delicata has very thin, delicate skin, so you can roast it without peeling! For any other squash, I recommend peeling 🙂

  • Stephanie

    kase, I’m going to finally make this! I’ve been holding onto a delicata since the fall (they last through the winter, right…? we’ll find out!) and just got a second one in my CSA this week, so I figured that was a sign. I’m going to use quinoa though- since that’s what I have. I’ll report back (both on how the cooking goes, and the quality of the ancient squash).

  • @Steph: wow, that is crazy you held on to that thing for so long! Yes, let me know if it’s still good. I am sure this will be super yum with quinoa, too. Maybe chop the delicata a bit more once it cooks since the quinoa is so much smaller.

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