Oven Baked Risotto with Pearled Spelt -RecipeFeb 11, 2021
I've always loved risotto. My love for it grew whilst travelling through the Northern towns of Italy - I had the best risotto of my life in a tiny taverna on the outskirts of Verona... a classic Milanese, so creamy and subtle in flavour but I remember tasting it and thinking to myself 'if I could only eat one thing for the rest of my life, this would be it...'
With my love for Italy and all it's traditions it seems quite wrong for me to give you a recipe that not only goes against the authentic stirring technique but one that uses the addition of another grain entirely!
You would be wrong to dismiss this recipe, it holds many of the traditional qualities of risotto with the added bonus of convenience and health benefits.
After a busy day, you might hanker after a creamy risotto dish but lack the inclination to stand there stirring over a hot pan... well here lies your answer. Not a replacement for the traditional risotto, more of a stand-in for when we don't have time to devote to creating the real thing. Although I use this method often, I still make the original recipe when I want to cook something 'special'.
On a related note, I remember seeing Greg Wallace on a TV food program - making risotto in a microwave and I was horrified, although curiosity got the better of me in the end, I tried it and it wasn't as bad as expected. My version is better, obviously...
Recipe: (feeds 2)
100g Risotto Rice
100g Pearled Spelt Grain
1 Chopped Onion
4 Cloves Chopped Garlic
350g Chopped Mushrooms
Teaspoon Chopped Tarragon (optional)
2 Handfuls Grated Parmesan (optional)
2 Handfuls Spinach Leaves (optional)
Salt & Pepper
- Preheat oven to 180ºC Gas Mark 4. I use a lidded casserole dish that I can also use on the hob, but you could use a pan and tip it into a lidded dish to bake.
- On the hob, over medium heat, saute the onion & garlic in a little oil until softened, season with salt and pepper and tarragon if using. Add the mushrooms and rice/spelt and stir.
- Turn up the heat and add all of the stock. Transfer to a lidded dish and bake with the lid on for about 20 minutes.
- Remove from the oven and take off the lid, give it a stir - a little liquid should remain after stirring. It may need an extra 5-10 minutes in the oven with the lid on for the rest of the liquid to absorb if there's a lot of liquid left.
- Before serving, stir in the spinach leaves (they will wilt from the heat) and the parmesan if using. Serve straight away.
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