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.
Prep 15mins Cook 25mins Servs 4
Bring the stock to a low simmer in a small pan and keep over a very low heat.
Heat the butter and oil in a large saucepan over a medium-low heat. Add the onions and sweat gently, stirring, for about 10 minutes, until soft. Add the garlic and swede and stir for a couple of minutes.
Add the spelt (or barley) to the pan and stir for a couple of minutes, making sure all the grains are well coated with butter and oil.
Now start adding the stock, about a quarter at a time, as you would for a risotto, stirring often and letting each addition be absorbed before you add the next. It should take about 25 minutes for the spelt to cook to a tender texture with a hint of bite still in the grains. By this time the swede will be completely tender too.
Stir in the chopped parsley and grated cheese. Add salt, plenty of black pepper and a few gratings of nutmeg. Serve, topped with more grated cheese. A crisp green salad is the ideal accompaniment.
- 1 litre vegetable stock
- 20g butter
- 2 tablespoons rapeseed or olive oil
- 2 medium onions, chopped
- 1 garlic clove, finely chopped
- 350g swede, peeled and cut into 1cm dice
- 300g pearled spelt (or barley)
- A good handful of parsley, finely chopped
- 50g Parmesan or hard goat's cheese, grated, plus extra to serve
- A few gratings of nutmeg
- Salt and freshly ground black pepper
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Who needs meat? During the River Cottage Veg cookery course you'll learn to turn local, seasonal produce into delicious veggie dishes.