By: Jenny Breen
Unlike your traditional risotto, this one is whole grain, full of nutrients and a delicious variation on the traditional theme. The grains lend themselves to creaminess, and as you continue to add liquid, they thicken and soften while still maintaining unique flavor. The spinach, radish tops and radish bulbs bring a crunchy and fresh addition. Share your photos of this spring dish with #WeeklyMarketMeal and #MillCityCooks. Serves 4.
- 1 cup wheat berries from Sunrise Flour Mill (substitute barley, brown rice or farro)
- 3 cups stock or water
- 8-12 ounces fresh bacon from Sunshine Harvest Farm (substitute smoked turkey or skip if vegetarian)
- ¼ cup rendered bacon fat or olive oil, separated
- 2 cloves garlic, minced
- 2-3 spring onions or 1 regular onion, chopped
- Up to 2 cups milk of your choice
- ¼ – ½ cup white wine (or substitute stock or water)
- Salt and black pepper, to taste
- ¼ cup grated Fresiago cheese from Shepherd’s Way Farm (substitute parmesan or similar cheese)
- 2 packed cups of spinach or other greens, roughly chopped
- 2 Tablespoons fresh thyme or 1 teaspoon dried
- 1 bunch radishes, greens roughly chopped and bulbs quartered
- Kale Pesto (optional for serving)
Cook grain in 3 cups stock water until tender (about 40 minutes) and set aside. Cook bacon in a large frying pan. Chop strips of cooked bacon into bite-sized pieces and set aside. Save rendered bacon fat for cooking if desired.
In the same frying pan, heat 2 tablespoons bacon fat or olive oil over medium heat and sauté garlic for 1 to 2 minutes. Add the cooked grain and slowly add 1 cup of the milk, stirring constantly. Add the wine and remaining milk in small amounts while continuing to stir constantly, for 20 to 25 minutes. Season with salt and pepper to taste. The risotto should be creamy, not mushy. If you prefer it creamier, continue with the slow cooking and addition of liquid for up to an hour.
In a separate saucepan, heat the remaining 2 Tablespoons of bacon fat or olive oil over medium heat, add the onions, herbs spinach, radish tops and sliced radishes. Remove from heat when greens are wilted.
Add the vegetables to the grain, and combine well. Fold in the chopped bacon and cheese and mix until well blended, adding more wine or milk if desired.
Optional: Serve with a large spoonful of Kale Pesto on each plate for extra color, flavor and nutrition!