Kick Off Wholesome January with Olea’s Whole-Grain Farro Pasta Dish


For many of us, the first month of the year is a time for remorse and salad, maybe even going teetotal. It’s a time to be healthy after weeks of end-of-year debauchery. Detox Month. But let’s be reasonable: It’s still January, and New Yorkers can’t subsist on salad alone in this weather. Might we suggest a wholesome one-pot meal of whole-grain farro pasta with local autumn squash, Brussels sprouts, toasted pumpkin seeds, and grated haloumi cheese from neighborhood mainstay Olea in Fort Greene?

Farro is often described as a type of wheat. But, in fact, it’s a different type of grain altogether, containing a starch similar to Arborio (or risotto) rice and boasting a nutty flavor. This dish, admittedly something of a mess to behold, uses whole-grain farro lasagna noodles, tossed with shaved Brussels sprouts, chunks of sweet squash, and sprinkled with fresh haloumi cheese. The result is hearty and satisfying in the way that eating a plate of roasted root vegetables is, but the fresh creaminess of the haloumi and nutty crunch of the pumpkin seeds add — there’s no other word for it — excitement. Don’t you love a dish that offers a different taste and texture in each bite? Sure you do. It’s important to keep your mouth entertained, even in the culinarily chaste month that is January.

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This article from the Village Voice Archive was posted on January 4, 2011

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