Avocado Squash & Basil Farro Risotto




I just realized that I haven't yet had a picnic this summer, and it's forecast to rain all next week. Thank goodness we're only in July : )
I'm going to plan ahead though; I just can't wait to spend an early afternoon lounging under a shady tree in Central Park. Here's my list of summer picnic essentials: (...the words in italics are links)

1) Maxx Loup. He's my boyfriend of 4+ years, the most supportive partner, and a crazy talented musician. I'll make sure he brings his guitar on our picnic!

2) Watermelon Pineapple Agua Fresca. 3 ingredients become pure liquid bliss. Ahhhh....

3) Peachy Massaged Kale Salad. You know it from a video that I made last summer. Easy peachy delicious!

4) Avocado Squash & Basil Risotto. A hearty yet light dish perfect for any meal of the day (including snacks). It's delicious right out of the pot or cooled down and eaten as left-overs.

5) Dessert? Raw Chocolate Mousse Pie from Peacefood Cafe!


Avocado Squash & Basil Farro Risotto 
(serves 2-3. The Avocado Squash is a type of summer squash similar to yellow squash or zucchini. It is light green on the outside, with a smooth and nutty flesh. It looks just like avocado in this dish! Find it at the Union Square Green Market. I use farro instead of arborio rice for this "risotto" because I like its more toothsome and hearty texture. Being a whole grain, it is healthier because of its high fiber content.)  
 
1 cup farro
2 tbsp olive oil
3 cloves of garlic, minced
1 small onion, diced
1/4 cup dry white wine or Vermouth
2 cups vegetable broth
1 1/2 cups summer squash, cubed (about one large squash)
1/2 tsp fresh thyme
1/2 cup fresh basil, chiffonade
1/2 tsp lemon zest
sea salt
black pepper

Soak the cup of farro in cold water.  In a sauce pan, heat the vegetable broth.
In a large pot saute the garlic and onions in olive oil until translucent. Rinse and drain the farro, then add it into the pot with the vegetables to toast for about one minute. Add the white wine or Vermouth. When the wine evaporates, spoon 2 full ladles of the broth into the pot. Stir, and reduce heat to a low simmer. When the liquid evaporates, add more liquid. Stirring every few minutes. About 15 minutes into the cooking of the farro, taste it to see if it has softened. It should be chewy. If it's nice and chewy, add the squash and thyme. Cook for another 10 minutes, adding liquid and stirring as necessary. When the squash has cooked through, add half of the basil and stir. After another 5 minutes, the risotto should be done. Taste the farro to make sure that it is tender and chewy. Stir in the lemon zest and a bit more of the fresh basil. Add salt and pepper to taste and serve immediately.


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