Sorry for my absence this week. I got more than leftovers from our little family on Thanksgiving. ::Sniff Sniff::
But the upshot is that even though this recipe is late, I took all the leftovers of it from last week and turned it into something I really needed this week. Soup. That will come tomorrow.
Risotto is typically made with rice. But you can use pretty much any kind of grain you want to. Wheat-berries take a little bit longer to cook than regular rice and they retain this kind of al dente bite even after they are done that I really love. They also have this great nutty flavor that I have amped up with some walnuts. But you could leave those out if you want. Feel free to change up the herbs. If you only have dried, use only a teaspoon at most of each.
As this was part of my vegan offerings for Thanksgiving, it is lacking the cheese that is so customary for risotto. I didn't miss it. But go ahead and add it in if the mood takes you. It ususally uses a half cup of Parmesan cheese.
Wheat-berry Risotto with Mushrooms
1/4 cup Garlic Olive Oil
1 cup hard wheat-berries
1/2 onion, diced
2 pints mushrooms, rough chopped
1 1/2 boxes of low-sodium vegetable stock (quart size)
3/4 cup fresh chopped parsley
1 tbsp fresh thyme
1 tbsp fresh rosemary, chopped
1/4 cup walnuts, finely chopped (optional)
pinch of salt
sprinkle of Porcini Sea Salt, to finish each plate
The stock should be warm when you add it. Either warm it in a pan on the stove or microwave it a little bit before you need it.
In a large pan with high sides, add the olive oil and turn the heat to medium. Put in all the onions and saute for about 5 minutes, until they start to soften. Add in the mushrooms and a pinch of salt. Cook about 2-3 minutes, until the mushrooms begin to release some of their juices.
Stir in the wheat-berries and about 1/2 cup of the stock. Stir and cook until the pan is almost dry. Then work in 1 cup increments until the wheat-berries soften up. It should take about an hour, but you don't have to stir this constantly like a regular rice risotto. Walking away from it for a few minutes is okay.
It is ready when the wheat-berries are soft, but still a little al dente. Add in all the herbs and the walnuts and cook for another 5 minutes.
Serve with a sprinkle of Porcini Sea Salt on top.