July 21, 2010

Vegetable Wheat Berry Risotto

I love Sequim in July - Lavender touches all my senses

While in Sequim this weekend I picked up some Hard Red Spring Wheat Berries from their local farmer's market.  I bought a couple different varieties from this vendor, Nash's Organic Produce.  I made a nice wheat berry salad while I was up there with fresh produce from my friend's garden and some of my own.  Yesterday I made some wheat berry risotto. This was very easy!  Anyone can make this effortless dish.  It does require soaking the berries overnight, so planning ahead is a good idea.  After the berries have soaked, the prep work is about 15 minutes. This is a high protein, vegan meal. The wheat berries tested out at 14% protein.  It can be served as an entree or a side dish.

Vegetable Wheat Berry Risotto

Vegetable Wheat Berry Risotto

About 2 TBL olive oil, I used garlic chili oil I made a couple weeks ago
1 medium to large onion, chopped
3-4 garlic cloves, minced
1½ cups wheat berries (pearl barley would substitute just fine.)
1 medium zucchini, diced in half inch cubes
4 cups low sodium vegetable broth (can be combined with water wheat berries
soaked in to make up the four cups of liquid)
2 TBL golden balsamic vinegar
1/3 cup tart juice, (cranberry, pomegranate, or apple cider would work)
1/4 cup freshly grated parmigiana cheese
Salt & Pepper to taste, I used cayenne pepper for a little extra zip.

Soak wheat berries overnight or for at least three hours.  Rinse and reserve the liquid for stock.

Heat up the broth to almost a boil for adding to wheat berries a little later.

Saut­è onion and garlic in oil about 2-4 minutes.

Add the wheat berries and sautè for about five minutes allowing the wheat berries to brown a bit. When I did this my kitchen had a toasty nutty smell, it was wonderful.

Add the broth, juice, vinegar, and zucchini and bring to a boil. Reduce heat to simmer and cover the pot.  Simmer for at least an hour.  I like my wheat berries al dentè so that there is some texture.  If you like them a little softer, you may have to cook a bit longer.  I simmer until almost all the liquid is absorbed leaving a nice gravy consistency.

Remove lid and add the cheese and cook a little bit longer, about ten minutes.

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