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Pearled spelt risotto with butternut squash and spinach

December is a very decadent month for me. First of all, it’s my birthday, followed closely by various Christmas drinks, dinners and parties. And if that’s not enough, then there’s Christmas itself. Not to mention a boozy New Year. Throughout the month, all I kept thinking to myself was that come January I would be better to my body.

So here comes the healthier eating. The thing is, I do love healthy foods. A quinoa salad is one of my favourite lunch dishes and I adore pulses, brown rice and wholewheat pasta. I’m also a fan of pearled spelt, commonly known as faro. So one of my first healthy New Year recipes comes after I swapped the usual white risotto rice for Sharpham Park pearled spelt. The pearled spelt gave the dish a crunchy texture and nutty flavour, which I prefer. I also much prefer the fact that pearled spelt is more easily digestable than wheat and higher in nutrients.

Try it, not only will you taste buds love it, your body will too.

Pearled Spelt risotto with spinach and butternut squash

Ingredients – serves 4

200g pearled spelt
200g baby spinach, washed
1 large butternut squash, chopped into cubes
2 sprigs of rosemary
Glug of rapeseed oil for roasting
1 tbsp olive oil for frying
1 red onion , finely diced
6 garlic cloves, (2 crushed and 4 whole)
1 red chilli, deseeded and finely chopped
100ml white wine
1l hot vegetable stock
Handful grated parmesan to serve
Sea salt and black pepper for seasoning

Method

Pre heat the oven to 200C

1. Place the chopped butternut squash into a roasting tray and add the 4 garlic cloves and sprigs of rosemary. Drizzle with rapeseed oil and sprinkle with sea salt and freshly ground black pepper. Roast in the oven for 40-45 minutes, or until soft
2. About 10 minutes after you have placed the butternut squash in the oven, rinse the spelt thoroughly with cold water
3. Heat the olive oil in a large frying pan. Cook the onion and red chilli for 2 minutes. Add the crushed garlic and cook for a further minute
4. Drain the spelt and fry for one minute before adding the wine. Simmer until almost all the liquid evaporates, stirring often
5. Gradually start adding the vegetable stock. Stir in the stock 1 cup at a time and simmer, stirring often, until all liquid is absorbed and the spelt is just tender, about 20 minutes in total
6. Add the spinach and stir until it has wilted
7. Season with salt and pepper. Serve and sprinkle with the parmesan shavings

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