The arrival of wild garlic season sent me rushing to the kitchen to brandish knives, stir stock, taste and fiddle and taste some more as I put together this aromatic spelt risotto topped with a drizzle of deeply flavoured black garlic sauce. I’ve used spelt here because I love its texture and nutty flavour but you can use Carnaroli risotto rice if you’d rather and cook it in exactly the same way.
Black garlic is completely new to me, I wanted it to shine in this dish so I used it in a rich creamy drizzle poured over the spelt risotto once it was piled up on my plate. Black garlic is gently aged white garlic and the ageing process totally transforms this familiar ingredient. The flavour is mellow with the savoury sweetness of balsamic vinegar and gentle garlic tones. The hard white cloves turn soft, black and sticky and are crying out to be used in pasta sauces or, as here, with risotto. I’m looking forward to experimenting more with it – I think it would be fabulous in a sauce with haloumi or tofu on the summer vegetarian barbecue!
- For the Spelt Risotto
- Olive oil for frying
- 200g Pearled Spelt (I used Sharpham Park Organic, grown not far from me here in Somerset)
- 1 banana shallot, peeled and finely diced
- 150g chestnut mushrooms, sliced
- 25g dried porcini mushrooms soaked in 700ml feshly boiled water for 20 minutes then removed and finely chopped – keep the soaking water as stock
- 2 tsps Marigold Bouillon powder
- 50g fresh wild garlic, roughly chopped
- Freshly ground black pepper and salt to taste
- 25g vegetarian parmesan, finely grated
- For the Black Garlic Sauce
- 1 tbsp chilli oil (you can use sunflower or rapeseed oil if you’d rather, I love the gentle heat added by a glug of chilli oil)
- 3 cloves of black garlic, finely chopped
- 2 tbsp crème fraîche
- 2 tbsp fresh flat leaf parley, finely chopped
- Freshly ground black pepper
- Tiny pinch of sea salt
- Heat a little olive oil in a pan, add your diced shallot and sliced mushrooms and fry until soft and lightly browned
- Add the pearled spelt and porcini mushrooms and stir well
- Mix the bouillon powder into your hot mushroom soaking liquid and stir well
- Add a ladleful of this stock to your spelt mixture and stir continuously at a gentle simmer until it has all been absorbed.
- Continue adding a ladleful of stock to your mixture and stirring continuously until the spelt is cooked (about 20 minutes)
- Stir in the chopped wild garlic and allow to wilt
- Stir in the vegetarian parmesan cheese
- Add black pepper and salt to taste
- Cover and leave to stand while you make your sauce
- Gently heat the chilli oil in a small saucepan
- Add the chopped garlic and sizzle gently for a minute or two
- Turn off the heat, stir in the crème fraîche, parsley and a little black pepper
Serve the spelt risotto on a warmed plate with the sauce poured over the top, a crisp green salad on the side and a sprinkling of vegetarian parmesan cheese.
I was given this black garlic by a friend but it is available from the Isle of Wight Garlic Farm and from most major supermarkets. I’m looking forward to feeding my garlic habit with a visit to the farm when we sail over to the island shortly!
Wild garlic is abundant in the UK at the moment so here are some more ideas to make use of it!
Wild Garlic and Cheese Scones by Thinly Spread
Wild Garlic Pesto Two Ways by Tin and Thyme
Sweet Potato, Wild Garlic and Spinach Soup by Munchies and Munchkins
Wild Garlic Tattie Scones by Foodie Quine
Wild Garlic and Cauliflower Soup by Planet Veggie