This is less of a recipe and more of an outline for an easy and delicious vegetarian main course.
Hit your local farmers market and buy the best-looking root vegetables you can find: carrots, radishes, beets, spring-dug parsnips, turnip or rutabaga, winter squash etc. Bring them home, along with a big bunch of herbs, and scrub them clean. Peel what needs to be peeled, cut the roots into manageable chunks and toss in a big bowl with olive oil, lots of salt and pepper, a pinch of chili flakes and a few cloves of minced garlic. Add several peeled whole shallots for good measure, spread the vegetables on a roasting pan and blast them in the oven at 450° for 20–30 minutes or until tender and beginning to darken around the edges.
While the vegetables roast, boil some farro (or brown rice, if you prefer) according to the package directions. Be sure to season the water well with lots of salt—make it taste like the sea.
When the vegetables are done, toss them back in the bowl with a good glug of syrupy, aged balsamic vinegar, more herbs and another drizzle of olive oil. Toss in the cooked farro, some chopped flat-leaf parsley and top each serving with a little handful of crumbled feta or goat cheese and some roasted hazelnuts, if you like.
Note: Adding the cheese and nuts to each serving at the table leaves the leftovers more versatile for dressing up later in the week.
WHAT TO DO WITH THE LEFTOVERS?
Add some charred onions and a light broth to the veggies and grains, and you have an easy soup. Or toss with bottled chili sauce, some Mexican spices and a good melting cheese, then fold into corn tortillas smothered with more sauce for enchiladas. Even just reheating the original dish and topping it with poached eggs and a squeeze of Sriracha can make a great weeknight meal.
Sarah Blackburn is a home cook, recipe developer, soccer mom, Italophile and managing editor at Edible Boston. She can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.