March 19, 2018

This earthy and comforting dish is still light and refreshing making it a perfect early-autumn dinner when we’re not quite ready to welcome in hearty curries and risottos.

The secret to cooking spelt is to always soaking it first for at least an hour and cooking it low and slow. It’ll result in a slightly chewy, nutty texture and faintly sweet taste.

I often make a batch at the start of the week and have it for lunch three days in a row. For the pesto I use any nuts I have on hand (it happened to be pistachios when I photographed), almonds , cashews  or pinenuts would be lovely also. Feel free to leave out the lemon or just use lemon zest to simplify. Enjoy x

Serves 4

1 cup spelt, soaked in cold water for at least an 1 hour (or overnight)
3 cups vegetable stock
2 tbsp olive oil
1 onion, finely chopped
2  garlic cloves, crushed
250g yellow tomatoes, quartered

Roast Lemon Parsley & Pistachio Pesto

1 lemon, halved
100ml olive oil
1/2 cup pistachios, toasted
1 cup Italian parsley
2 cups rocket
1 garlic clove crushed
1 cup grated parmesan plus extra for serving.

Start by making the spelt. Drain spelt from soaking water and add to boiling stock. Cover, reduce heat and simmer for 50 – 60 minutes or until grains are chewy. (If grains were not soaked, allow 65 – 80 minutes cooking time.) Drain off any excess water.

Meanwhile, add the olive oil to a pan over a medium heat. Add the chopped onions and let them cook until softened, about 7 minutes, then add the garlic and cook for a minute longer. Remove from the heat and stir in the tomatoes so that they’re just warmed through. Stir through spelt.

For the pesto, place lemon on a roasting tray and drizzle with tbsp of the olive oil. Roast at 200C for 20 minutes until soft. Set aside to cool (this could be made ahead). To a food processor add, pistachios, parsley, rocket, garlic and parmesan. Blitz until coarsely ground. Add remaining olive oil while motor is running. Season generously with sea salt and pepper then toss through spelt mixture.

Divide among 4 bowls and add extra parmsean, rocket and olive oil.

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