Tuesday, 11 November 2014

Pearled Spelt Risotto with Watercress, Lemon and Goat's Cheese

I am staring out the window at a dismal grey and rainy day - not even the steamy mug of Earl Grey and Christmas cake to my left are cutting through my dreary mood. So my mind is turning to dinner and this is just the ticket. A lovely warming risotto made with spelt for extra nutty richness. It is taken from my new favourite cookery book Take One Pot - it's full of family friendly easy to follow and hearty food - right up my strada. I have tweeked the original recipe a teeny tiny bit as I don't like it too lemony and for me risotto should also have celery but hey - each to their own! So put your slippers on, pour yourself a large Malbec and settle into risotto and some TV trash - yep, I'm rock and roll.
prep time 10 minutes cook time 30 minutes

serves 4

25g butter
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 onion, peeled and finely chopped
2 garlic cloves, peeled and finely chopped
(for mine I use 2 sticks of celery too)
200g pearled spelt (alternatively, use risotto rice)
125ml dry white wine
1 litre hot vegetable stock
75g bunch of watercress, washed and roughly chopped (I add a little bit more - more like 120g)
Grated zest and juice of 1 lemon (I only use juice of 1/2 a lemon)
50g Parmesan, grated
A few rounds of goat’s cheese, to serve
Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper

1 Heat half of the butter and all the oil in a large pan. Add the chopped onion and garlic (and celery if using) and cook over a low heat, stirring occasionally, for 5 minutes or until softened. Add the pearled spelt (or risotto rice) and stir for 1 minute until the grains are coated in the buttery oil.

2 Pour in the wine and simmer over a high heat until nearly all has evaporated. A word of warning: there are times for drinking alcohol, but not within a risotto – take the time to allow the alcohol to evaporate.

3 Reduce the heat to gentle and begin to add the hot stock, a ladleful at a time, letting each ladleful be absorbed before adding the next. Keep adding the stock and stirring constantly until all of the liquid has been absorbed. This will take 18–20 minutes.

4 Remove the risotto from the heat and add the remaining butter, the chopped watercress, lemon zest and juice and the Parmesan. Stir until the watercress has just wilted, check for seasoning, and then serve with a round or two of goat’s cheese resting on top.

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