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!
Wild Garlic and Mushroom Spelt Risotto with Black Garlic Sauce
For the Spelt Risotto
- Olive oil for frying
- 200 g Pearled Spelt I used Sharpham Park Organic, grown not far from me here in Somerset
- 1 banana shallot peeled and finely diced
- 150 g chestnut mushrooms sliced
- 25 g dried porcini mushrooms
- 2 tsps Marigold vegan Bouillon powder
- 50 g fresh wild garlic roughly chopped
- Freshly ground black pepper and salt to taste
- 25 g vegan parmesan finely grated
For the Black Garlic Sauce
- 1 tbsp chili oil you can use sunflower or rapeseed oil if you’d rather, I love the gentle heat added by a glug of chili oil
- 3 cloves of black garlic finely chopped
- 2 tbsp vegan cream
- 2 tbsp fresh flat leaf parsley finely chopped
- Freshly ground black pepper
- Tiny pinch of sea salt
- Soak the porcini mushrooms in 700ml/3 cups of freshly boiled water for 20 minutes, then remove and chop finely. Keep the water to use as stock
- 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 vegan parmesan style cheese
- Add black pepper and salt to taste
- Cover and leave to stand while you make your sauce
- Gently heat the chili oil in a small saucepan
- Add the chopped garlic and sizzle gently for a minute or two
- Turn off the heat, stir in the cream, 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!