River Cottage Veg Every Day!
About Me: Recipes taken from the River Cottage Veg Every Day! cookbook and the channel 4 TV series River Cottage Veg.
One could hardly call this dish ‘light’, but it’s certainly less rich than a creamy, dauphinoise-style gratin, and a lovely way to enjoy the flavours of some seasonal roots. You don’t have to stick to the ones I suggest here: try substituting Jerusalem artichokes, carrots or swede, for example; they all work well. I like to serve this with big flat field mushrooms simply baked with some butter, garlic and cheese (see page 385) and some good bread.
The chilli oil gives this soup a deliciously piquant finish. Once made, the oil will keep, sealed in an airtight container in the fridge, for a couple of weeks, and you can use it to add a bit of heat to marinades and salad dressings or to trickle over pizzas. However, if you don’t have time to make it, you can simply trickle a little extra virgin olive oil over the soup and finish with some shavings of Parmesan, pecorino or hard goat’s cheese.
Spelt has a nutty flavour that goes very well with earthy root vegetables. Roasted wedges of pumpkin or beetroot work brilliantly in place of the swede, but instead of adding at the beginning, stir in the diced flesh of the roasted veg just a minute or two before the speltotto is finished.
Risoni (or orzo) is a tiny rice-shaped pasta with a unique charm. There’s something deeply satisfying about its texture, and it’s quicker and easier to cook than rice. Here, it’s combined with a rich mushroom ragout for a warming autumn or winter dish. Use a dark and flavoursome variety of mushroom, such as chestnut, open-cap or field mushrooms, and include a few wild mushrooms if you have some to hand.