spelt risotto with wild garlic

it’s wild garlic season again and, having ordered some from food4london i’ve been thinking about how to make the most of it. using it in an omelette or a dauphinoise was my initial thought but nigel slater’s recipe for spelt risotto with pea shoots sent me off in a different direction.

i have several bags of spelt (aka farro) in my cupboards and decided that this would be the perfect way to use some the wild garlic. nigel’s tip to soak the spelt for 10 minutes while you prepare the rest of the ingredients is a great one and reduces the cooking time.

david was a little sceptical given the last spelt risotto i made was quite austere so, as well as using the wild garlic i added a handful of sunblush tomatoes and a couple of crumbled and browned sausages which david had been given earlier in the day by a friend whose father is the local butcher in nethy bridge, scotland.

the resulting risotto was wonderfully comforting. the wild garlic has a gentle flavour which worked well with the spelt and the sausage and tomatoes added a richness which meant the dish felt sufficicntly indulgent for an end of the week meal.

i have more wild garlic left so do let me have any suggestions you have for using it. last season i made a pilaf and had it with pasta.

spelt risotto with wild garlic, sausage and tomato (serves two)

175g spelt

40g butter

1 small onion, diced

2 sausages, skin removed and broken into small pieces (optional)

700ml vegetable stock (i use marigold bouillon powder)

2 tablespoons sunblush tomatoes (or you can use sundried tomatoes)

a large handful of wild garlic leaves, roughly chopped

2 tablespoons of grated parmesan

put the spelt in a bowl, cover with cold water and leave for 10 minutes.

melt half the butter and cook the onion over a gentle heat. add the sausage and continue cooking until the meat is cooked and the onion soft.

drain the spelt and add it to the onion mix, then pour in about a third of the hot stock. let the liquid come to the boil, then lower the heat to a simmer and leave for 8-10 minutes, stirring regularly. add half the remaining liquid, leave for 5 or 6 minutes then stir in the remainder. continue cooking for a further 7 minutes or so, checking the texture of the spelt as you go. it should be soft, with a very slight bite to it.

add the tomatoes and wild garlic. stir them in then add the parmesan and remaining butter, mix everything together and season to taste.

we ate this with a mixed baby leaf salad, dressed with olive oil and balsamic vinegar.