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Pearled spelt, goat’s cheese and chard risotto

A slightly different twist on the classic risotto, made with pearled spelt which, when combined with creamy goat's cheese and vibrant chard, not only looks inviting, but also often hits a comforting, 'I need calories' in one small hit. You can easily take down the consistency by using a little extra stock or melting in some butter. Even though spelt contains gluten, it is often easier to digest. The goat's cheese boosts the protein content, with the chard adding some much needed dark green calcium source.

pearled spelt, goat’s cheese and chard risotto

Preparation time: 10 minutes  
Cooking Time: 20 minutes
Serves: 4

Ingredients:
250g (9oz) pearled spelt
1 tbsp olive or rapeseed oil
2 medium shallots or 1 small onion, finely chopped
1 litre (1. pint) hot vegetable stock
2 handfuls of chard or spinach leaves
50g (2oz) soft goat's cheese
freshly grated Parmesan or Pecorino cheese
salt and ground black pepper

Method

  • Soak the spelt in cold water for 10 minutes. 
  • Heat the oil in a large pan and cook the shallots until soft but not brown. 
  • Drain the spelt, add it to the shallots and pour in one-third of the stock. 
  • Bring to the boil then turn the heat down to a simmer and gradually add the remaining stock a ladleful at a time, stirring constantly.
  • When the spelt is cooked but not mushy (as you still want it to have a slight bite to it), tear the chard leaves, stir them in and leave them to soften for 1–2 minutes. 
  • Add the cheese and season to taste.

Tip
This risotto can be made with Arborio rice instead of spelt (gluten free with Arborio rice substitution) and all kinds of other ingredients, such as mushrooms, peas or broad beans, which can be thrown in from frozen at the chard stage, as they only take a couple of minutes to cook.


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