Spelt is a dreamy, wholegrain alternative to arborio rice. Its an ancient grain, high in fibre so it supports the transit of your food through your gut and out the other end. The pesto really lifts this recipe (pesto lifts everything) and you can use any herb and different nuts if you don't have basil/pine nuts nearby.
250g pearled spelt/pearl barley
100g parmesan, grated
1 onion, diced
2 garlic cloves, crushed
1 lemon, zest & juice
70g kale, torn
70ml olive oil
50g pine nuts
Melt the butter in a frying pan over a low heat, add the onion and cook very gently until totally translucent. At least ten minutes.
Whilst the onions are sweating, cook the spelt at a quick simmer until it is soft but retains a bite. Drain and set aside.
Meanwhile, make the pesto: add the basil, olive oil, pine nuts, half the parmesan, a squeeze of the lemon and a good pinch of salt to a blender. Blitz and check seasoning.
When the onions are soft, add the garlic to the pan and fry for one minute.
Add the cooked spelt to the pan and a splash of stock, stirring constantly.
Continue to add the stock slowly, letting the spelt absorb it each time.
Add the remaining parmesan and kale and stir together until the kale has wilted.
Remove from the heat, and stir through the pesto.
Squeeze over the rest of the lemon plus zest, and a little more parmesan if you like.