Thanksgiving 2013: Farro, Kabocha, and Marcona Almond Risotto

Recipe from Cleo’s executive chef Danny Elmaleh

Thanksgiving 2013 is upon us. To usher in the season of endless eating and copious drinking, we’ve approached some of L.A.’s finest chefs and restaurants to get their recipes for the this year’s best side dishes and desserts, all inspired by Southern California’s bounty.

First up, Cleo’s chef Danny Elmaleh shares his seasonal risotto, tinged orange with sweet Kabocha squash. It’s a dish that would be ideal on any chilly meatless Monday, but would look especially appropriate next to your golden brown turkey.

Farro, Kabocha, and Marcona Almond Risotto

2 cups diced kabocha squash
1 teaspoon thyme
1 Tablespoon unsalted butter
Salt, peppr, and chili flakes, to taste

2 Tablespoons unsalted butter
2 cups farro
4 Tablespoons shallots, minced
2 Tablespoons garlic, crushed
1 teaspoon chili flakes
5-6 fresh sage leaves
1 cup dry white wine
3 cups low-sodium chicken stock
Salt to taste
1/4 cup green kale (blanched briefly in boiling water and drained well)
chopped parsley
2-4 Tablespoons butter (for serving)
Grated Parmesan (for serving)
Marcona almonds (chopped, toasted and tossed with truffle oil and truffle salt (optional))

1. Pre-heat oven to 400F. Lay squash in a single layer on a lined sheet pan or cookie sheet. Sprinkle with thyme, salt, pepper, chili flakes and dot with butter. Roast in pre-heated oven for about 45 minutes or until cooked through. Set aside.
2. In a large saucepan, melt 2 Tablespoons butter over medium heat. Add farro, shallots, garlic, and 1 teaspoon chili flakes. Toast until butter begins to brown.
3. Add sage leaves and stir, cooking just until aromatic.
4. Add wine, scraping any browned bits from bottom of pan. Raise heat to medium-high and add chicken stock.
5. Bring to a boil and then lower to a simmer. Once faro is cooked, add blanched kale, and season with salt and pepper.
6. Stir in butter and parmesan.
7. Top with toasted marcona almonds.

To serve, place a portion of cooked squash on the serving plate or platter and top with finished risotto. Cooked squash may also be stirred into risotto if desired. All Thanksgiving 2013 Recipes on