My dinner options for Wednesday were very slim. I had already used the “egg” option on Tuesday night with Mini Goat Cheese, Bacon and Leek Quiches. I was contemplating the grilled cheese cop-out since I need to be out the door and on the ice for 7pm.
This box of Spelt grains in my cupboard was calling to me for sometime. I have never cooked Spelt or even made a Spelt Risotto. I did know that the grains could be cooked in the same method of risotto.
I had all the ingredients for a risotto and decided to tackle it in the short time frame.
I love cooking Risotto. And I think I have pretty much mastered the process. ;) Risotto is a great change-up from rice or pasta.
I found that the Spelt grains were much more forgiving than Arborio rice. I could actually walk away from the stove which is something you shouldn’t do. And I used a little more stock than when I cook a regular risotto. I tasted the texture of the spelt a lot through the last part of the cooking process.
If I had planned better I would have used sage instead of the herbs listed in the recipe below; it tasted fantastic with that combination. It was a hit with the family. And an awesome vegetarian option especially since it is high in protein.
I recently hosted a birthday dinner for my friend Emma. The Menu’s theme for the Dinner Party was Spring even though the weather was NOT. I made an awesome Risotto with Roasted Shrimp, Peas and Edamame.
Birthday Dinner Pictures below:
Always check out my Instagram @the5oclockrush to see my daily dinners photos.
Spelt Risotto with Roasted Butternut Squash
Preparation time : 15 minutes Cooking time : 1 hour
Mise En Place
- 1 box-500g Spelt grain
- 1 medium-sized butternut squash, halved, de-seeded, peeled and diced
- 2 tbsp olive oil
- 4 cups chicken or vegetable stock
- 1 shallot, finely diced
- 2 garlic cloves, finely chopped
- 1 cup white wine
- 1 tbsp fresh rosemary, chopped
- 1 tbsp fresh chives, chopped
- 3 large fresh basil leaves, chopped
- 2 tbsp butter
- ½ cup Parmesan cheese, grated
- Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
Preheat the oven to 400°F. Put the butternut squash on a foil lined baking tray, drizzle with 1 tablespoon of the oil and season with salt and pepper. Bake in the oven for 20 minutes until cooked.
In a saucepan bring the chicken or vegetable stock to the boil, then reduce to a simmer. At the same time, heat the remaining tablespoon of oil in a deep heavy bottom pan over a medium heat, then add the onion and garlic and cook for 5 minutes until softened and translucent. Add the spelt grains and stir to coat with the oil.
Pour in the wine and stir until it is all absorbed, then add a ladleful of the hot stock and stir until it is fully absorbed by the spelt. Continue to add the stock, ladleful by ladleful, stirring the spelt to absorb the stock after each addition. This will take 30-40 minutes in total. At the 20 minutes into the spelt cooking time, add the butternut squash.
Check the spelt regularly nearing the end of the cooking process. You want it to be cooked but still with a little bite, and you may not need all the stock. When it is just about the desired consistency, add fresh chopped herbs and add the butter and Parmesan and season with salt and pepper.
*Suggestion: Serve the risotto with the arugula and pumpkin seeds or toasted walnuts sprinkled over the top and a good drizzle of balsamic glaze and flavourful olive oil.
Spelt is a species of wheat that was a very important crop in ancient and medieval times, but now it is only commonly grown in Europe. It’s been around since the 1890s, but it was replaced in the 20th century by bread wheat.
Spelt is fast gaining popularity as a health food because it contains a broad spectrum of nutrients, including complex carbohydrates, sugar, soluble and insoluble fiber, sodium, vitamins, minerals, fatty acids, amino acids and more. Spelt is high in vitamin B2, niacin, manganese, thiamin, copper, and magnesium.
It’s not a gluten-free grain but it’s high in protein and fiber and high digestibility.
It has a long pointed almond shape fairly large and distinct, just about the same shape as large orzo pasta.
It has a sweet, deep nutty flavour and chewiness. The grains stay fluffy and distinct when cooked, nicely al dente.
It’s also quick and easy to cook.
Try substituting spelt for rice or pasta in a salad or with curry or greens.
You can find spelt berries in most bulk food sections of health stores and organic section of the grocery store.
You can find spelt in whole grain berries, or also ground into flour.
For very soft, like steamed rice, add 3 cups of water or stock to 1 cup of spelt, cover and simmer for 1 1/2 hours.
For chewier and nuttier, like for salads, use 2 cups of water or stock for every cup of spelt berries. Cook the spelt like risotto, adding half a cup at a time and stirring after each addition until the liquid evaporates. They should be tender after about 30-40 minutes.