This week’s recipes from WGN’s Dean Richards will really fill you up!

Butternut Squash Farro 


  • 1 medium to large butternut squash 
  • 1 small onion
  • 5 cloves garlic
  • 2-3 tbsp olive oil
  • Generous amount of salt and pepper
  • 1 & 1/2 tsp red pepper flakes
  • 1 cup warm water
  • 10 ounces quick-cooking farro
  • 2-3 stalks fresh sage


Preheat the oven to 425F.

Remove the seeds from the squash, peel the garlic cloves and slice the onion into large pieces. Place all the vegetables on a piece of foil large enough to wrap around them.

Cover the vegetables with olive oil, salt and pepper and loosely wrap the foil around the top. Roast at 425F for about 30-35 minutes or until the garlic is soft and the squash is fully cooked.

While the vegetables are roasting, cook the farro per package instructions, drain and set to the side.

When the vegetables are done roasting let them cool for 5 minutes.  Reserve a couple of cups to add to the mixture at the end in chunks.  Everything else can go in a blender. Make sure to remove the peel from the squash.

Add the red pepper flakes and cup of water and blend until a smooth purée forms. Feel free to add more water as needed.

Pour the purée onto the farro and mix to combine. Season with more salt, pepper and red pepper flakes if desired.

To make the crispy sage, roughly chop the sage leaves and toss in a small coating of olive oil. Spread it on a baking sheet and broil on high for 3 minutes or until the sage is crispy.

Add the reserved squash chunks.   Sprinkle with extra virgin olive oil.   

Top the farro with the sage and optional parmesan, and serve!

Pasta with Ricotta Pesto


  • 2 cups packed fresh basil
  • 2 cloves garlic
  • 1/2 cup pine nuts
  • 1/2 cup freshly grated parmesan cheese
  • 1/3 cup low fat (or part skim) ricotta cheese
  • 1/3 cup olive oil
  • 16 oz. package of the pasta of your choice


In a pot, boil water.   Add salt.   When at a rolling boil,  add pasta and cook until it’s “al dente”  (firm,  but cooked.) 

Reserve 2 cups of pasta water in case you need to think-out the final sauce.  

Drain pasta from the water,  but do not rinse. set aside while you make the pesto.      

Place basil, garlic, pine nuts, and cheeses in food processor and blend. 

Slowly, stream in olive oil until everything comes together to form a thick sauce. 

If sauce is too thick for your taste, stream in a little more olive oil. 

Mix with pasta and serve  (or store in an airtight container for 3-5 days.)

If it’s still too thick,  add a little pasta water and mix.