Spring greens and spelt risotto with thyme recipe image

Print Spring greens and spelt risotto with thyme

Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall coined the lovely term 'speltotto' for spelt risottos, but the dish has been cooked in Italy for centuries going under the name of orzotti. Pearled spelt works in the same way as risotto rice but has a nutty flavour and a more robust texture that work particularly well with greens. Use risotto rice if you prefer. This recipe works equally well with winter greens.

Ingredients

  • 20g butter
  • 1 large onion, finely chopped (or use a leek)
  • 2 good sprigs thyme or lemon thyme, leaves only
  • 150g pearled spelt, rinsed
  • 600ml hot veg stock
  • 300g spring greens, rib stalks cut out, leaves left whole
  • 50g Parmesan or vegetarian equivalent, finely grated
  • Salt & pepper

Method

  1. Melt the butter in a heavy-based pan and fry the onion very gently for at least 10 minutes, stirring now and then, until soft and translucent.
  2. Add the thyme and spelt and stir for 1 minute.
  3. Add the stock, season with salt and pepper and simmer gently for 25-30 minutes, until the spelt is tender and almost all the liquid has absorbed (you don’t need to stir it as much as risotto rice).
  4. While the spelt is cooking, boil the spring green leaves in a pan of lightly salted water for 6-8 minutes until tender.
  5. Drain, plunge into a bowl of very cold water, leave to cool, then drain again. Squeeze out any excess liquid, then finely shred the leaves.
  6. Once the spelt is just tender, add the spring greens and Parmesan and stir for a minute to combine. Check the seasoning before serving.
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