Tuesday, August 2, 2011

Vegetarian Wheat Berry Risotto

My good friend Michelle came to visit me recently....and in addition to fun at the Max's Oyster Bar, and  The Great Lobster Adventure she brought gifts!!!

A plush egg for Roscoe

and this cookbook for me.

Sustainably Delicious: Making the World a Better Place, One Recipe at a Time

I really like the emphasis on seasonal ingredients in this cookbook. As I browsed through many recipes sounded tasty, but immediately one recipe caught my eye. This was for Summer Heirloom farro risotto. The original recipe can be found here, but my adaptation is below.

Wheat Berry Risotto
1 cup wheat berries
4 cups vegetable stock
1 large zuchinni, diced
1.5 cups halved grape tomatoes
1 can white beans, rinsed
1 medium onion, chopped
pecorino romano
4 Tbs olive oil
salt and pepper to taste
Basil pesto for serving (optional, recipe below)

In a medium pot heat 1 tablespoon of oil over medium heat. Saute the onion until translucent. Once the onion is softened, add the wheat berries and stir for 1-2 minutes to toast the kernels and soak up some of the oil. Add the vegetable stock and cook, stirring occasionally, for 40-45 minutes, or until stock has mostly evaporated and wheat berries are soft - but still chewy.

Meanwhile in a large skillet heat the remaining olive oil over medium heat. Add zuchinni and cook, stirring occasionally until browned and slightly softened. Add tomatoes and beans and cook through, stirring to incorporate. Season liberally with salt and pepper, remove from heat and place in large bowl.

Once the wheat berries are cooked through, add the mixture (there may be some liquid from the stock) to the zuchinni, tomatoes and beans. Stir together and season to taste with salt and pepper. Spoon into serving bowls and top with pecorino romano and basil pesto.

Basil Pesto
1 cup loosely packed basil leaves
1 clove garlic
1 Tbs lemon zest
Juice of half a lemon
olive oil
pine nuts
pecorino romano
salt and pepper

Add all the ingredients except the cheese, olive oil, s&p to a food processor. Start the processor and drizzle the olive oil into the processor until the mixture is uniform. Stop a few times to scrape the bowl of the processor with a spatula to make sure that the basil is uniformly chopped.

Transfer the pesto to a bowl and add 1/4 cup of romano. Taste and season for salt and pepper.

I've been trying to incorporate more vegetarian meals into our repertoire - which is difficult when you reside with a boy who has a healthy appetite and claims that veggie foods don't completely fill him up. My solution? Lots of beans....and add pesto. 

If pesto is involved, he will always be a happy eater.

This made enough for both of us, and leftovers for lunch the next day....for lunch I ate it cold. It could also work as a side dish for a barbecue.


  1. Yay! I'm so glad that you put the cookbook to good use! And your guest bedroom is waiting for you to come visit anytime! xo

  2. what a great dish, love the addition of pesto

  3. Awesome idea! I love making risotto with grains other than arborio.

  4. Roscoe is killing me! Too cute.

  5. Gaah, this looks so good! I love love farro and wheatberries and the pesto topping looks delicious.

  6. This looks delicious, and so fresh/light for summer!

  7. My lunch was similar to this, but what you made is way healthier! Love Roscoe! I so need to meet him... and so does Gunner.

  8. this look very yummy but I cant get over how cute your pup is.

  9. This sounds delicious! Perfect summer meal! Haha Bromley has that SAME egg (from an Egglands best event)...too funny. It's his "eggy" haha! He loves it!

  10. Aww Roscoe is so cute! This dish looks awesome and definitely filling :)


  11. swoon- that basil pesto recipe sounds amazing!

  12. What a great summer dish!! Your dog is super cute too!

  13. What a lovely summer meal! I've never tried wheat berries (although I have some in my cupboard!) so maybe I'll have to try this :)