Freekeh Risotto

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Preparation info

  • Serves

    4

    • Difficulty

      Medium

Appears in

Freekeh, Wild Wheat & Ancient Grains

Freekeh, Wild Wheat & Ancient Grains

By Ruth Nieman

Published 2021

  • About

Freekeh risotto is a contemporary take on the traditional dish, cooked in Israel by innovative restaurants and private chefs, using local vegetables and herbs with the young, freshly harvested smoked wheat. I cooked up this recipe with Israeli chef and baker Avner Laskin, who delighted in combining the flavours of the Middle East and Mediterranean in one pan of delicious food, reviving the ancient grain for the modern palate.

Ingredients

  • 1 cup/150 g freekeh
  • 2 cups/500 ml boiling water
  • 4 tablespoons/60 ml extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 large leek
  • 1 parsnip
  • 1 fennel bulb
  • 2 garlic cloves
  • 1 green chilli
  • ½ cup/125 ml white wine
  • ¼ cup/60 ml fresh tomato passata
  • ½ cup/50 g sugar snap peas
  • salt & pepper

    Method

    • Slice the leek finely & peel & chop the parsnip into chunks, place half the olive oil into a large saucepan together with leek & parsnip & place on a medium heat, add some salt & stir to coat the vegetables in the olive oil, slice the garlic cloves & chilli, removing the seeds depending how much heat you want, add to the vegetables, stirring for a minute or two, leave to cook on the heat & slice the fennel bulb, stir into the mix & continue to cook for on a medium heat for a further 10 minutes, until the vegetables are sweet and beginning to caramelise, stirring occasionally & adding the remaining olive oil if it looks a little dry or the vegetables are sticking to the pan
    • Place the freekeh in a bowl, cover with cold water & set aside for 5 to 10 minutes, drain in a fine mesh sieve & rinse well under the cold tap so that all the grit & chaff is removed, add to the vegetables, deglaze the pan with the glug of white wine & add the tomato passata, stir well to combine before pouring in the water to cover all the vegetables, simmer on a gentle heat without a lid for 10 to 15 minutes until the freekeh is beginning to absorb the liquid and starting to soften
    • Preheat the oven to 200°C/400°F/Gas Mark 6
    • Top & tail the sugar snap peas & slice on the diagonal into 2 cm/1-inch pieces, add to the risotto at the end of the 15 minutes & stir, before placing the pan in the oven for 10 more minutes
    • The risotto will be ready when the flavours of freekeh and vegetables have amalgamated & softened, serve warm with an extra drizzle of olive oil & a hunk of fresh bread