Spelt risotto with Mediterranean vegetables

Photography by Jonathan Gregson

This is best made in late summer when all the produce is in abundance and flavours are at their richest. Pearled spelt can be found in many health food shops; Sharpham Park is a wonderful British organic producer, whose grain products are available worldwide. Serve this risotto as it is, or as an accompaniment to sausages or roast lamb.

Serves 2
3–4 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
2 small red onions, cut into wedges
2 small or 1 large courgettes, cut into 2.5cm chunks
1 pepper, red or orange, cut into cubes
1 x 250g aubergine, sliced and cubed
2 large ripe tomatoes
chopped 2 garlic cloves
crushed a sprig of rosemary
100g pearled spelt, washed and drained
450ml vegetable stock
2 bay leaves
A squeeze of lemon sea salt
Freshly ground black pepper

1. Heat 11⁄2 tablespoons of the oil in a sauté pan or shallow, wide saucepan and fry the onions gently for about 10 minutes. Then transfer to a bowl and set aside.
2. Add the courgette and pepper to the pan, season and fry for about 5 minutes over a high heat, then place in the bowl with the onions.
3. Add another 11⁄2 tablespoons oil and fry the aubergine over a high heat for 4–5 minutes until nearly softened, adding an extra tablespoon of oil if needed.
4. Turn the heat down to medium, then add the chopped tomatoes and their juice, the garlic and the rosemary.
5. Season with salt and pepper and stir-fry for 2 minutes.
6. Sprinkle in the spelt, stir with the tomatoes over the heat for a minute or so, then pour in the boiling hot stock and add the bay leaves.
7. Bring up to a simmer and cook, stirring occasionally, for about 10 minutes.
8. Add the onion, peppers and courgettes and cook for a further 10–15 minutes or until the spelt is just tender, adding a splash of water if the risotto looks a little too dry.
9. Squeeze over the lemon, stir and taste for seasoning, then serve.

This recipe can be found in Amazing Grains.

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