Summer vegetable 'grainotto'

by Jenny Chandler

A risotto-cum-salad that makes the most of the last of summer’s bounty


For the base:
75g butter
1 tbsp olive oil
About 200g of chopped shallot, spring onion, red onion, brown onion, leek—whatever you’ve got!
200g carrots or celery, chopped finely
200g wheat berries, spelt, pearl barley, freekeh or even wholegrain rice such as red or brown, rinsed and drained
100ml white wine (optional - just add extra stock and lemon juice if omitting)
1l good vegetable or chicken stock
½ tsp salt

Veg of the day:
400g courgettes, podded peas or beans, swiss chard, spinach or any other fresh leaves
2-3 tbsp chopped parsley, basil, tarragon, dill, chives
100g grated hard cheese, such as Wensleydale or Lancashire (I like a mild cheese here)
Lemon juice
1-2 tbsp extra virgin olive oil


Take a large frying pan, sauté pan or wide based casserole and sweat together your base vegetables in the butter and oil, for about 10 minutes, until soft and just beginning to colour.

Throw in your grains and turn in the buttery juices. Add the wine if using and stock to cover and simmer until tender.

Wheat berries may take 45 mins plus, whilst pearl barley, freekeh or brown rice will be more like 30 mins. You may have to top up the stock, the idea is to keep the grains just covered.

Whilst the grains are cooking prepare your green veg, slicing it finely so that it will cook really quickly once added to the pan.

Once the grain has cooked turn up the heat and stir in the greens, literally a couple of minutes of bubbling will be enough. Mix in the herbs and taste.

Add lemon juice, salt, pepper and extra virgin olive oil to taste. Crumble over some cheese and serve.

Recipe: Jenny Chandler