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Wheat Berry Risotto

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  • Prep 15 min
  • Total 1 hr 45 min
  • Servings 6
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A traditional risotto preparation but with wheat berries instead of rice!
by: Macheesmo
Updated Mar 8, 2017
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  • 1 cup hard wheat berries
  • 1 1/2 quarts stock, warmed
  • 1/2 onion diced
  • 1 red pepper diced
  • 1/2 cup white wine
  • 1/4 cup olive oil
  • 3 cloves garlic
  • 1 teaspoon red pepper flakes (opt.)
  • 1/2 cup fresh parsley, chopped (garnish)
  • 1/2 cup parmesan cheese (garnish)


  • 1
    Start by adding your stock to a large pot and get it simmering over medium heat. It just needs to be warm, not boiling hot.
  • 2
    Crush Garlic cloves, but leave them mostly whole. Add olive oil to pan along with garlic cloves and red pepper flakes. Cook on LOW for about 5-6 minutes to infuse oil with garlic.
  • 3
    Remove garlic cloves and add onions and peppers. Turn heat up to medium and cook until veggies start to soften, about 4 minutes.
  • 4
    Add wheat berries to the pan and cook for about a minute to warm wheat berries.
  • 5
    Add white wine to pan and stir until wine is evaporated.
  • 6
    Working about 1 cup at a time, ladle stock into wheat berry mixture. Stir well and cook until pan is almost dry, then add another cup. It will probably take about an hour for the wheat berries to soften up and you'll probably use close to 5 or 6 cups of liquid. You don't need to stir it continuously though like you normally do with risotto. It's okay to let it sit for a few minutes.
  • 7
    When wheat berries are soft, but still have a bit of a bite to them, remove from heat. You should taste the dish for salt but it probably won't need salt because of the salt in the stock. Serve with a garnish of parsley and Parmesan cheese.

Nutrition Information

No nutrition information available for this recipe

More About This Recipe

  • You may not know this, but risotto is actually a process – not an ingredient. A lot of people think that risotto is the rice used for making risotto. But just like you can use different tortillas or fillings to make a quesadilla, you can use a wide range of grains to make risotto! Instead of rice, this Wheat Berry Risotto recipe uses a rarely used grain: whole-wheat berries. There are advantages and disadvantages to making risotto with wheat berries instead of rice. Unfortunately, it takes a bit longer – the berries take longer to soften up. The good news is that the berries are way more forgiving than rice. You don't have to stir them continuously and it's pretty hard to overcook them. Not to mention the flavor is very unique and interesting. They have a really nutty flavor and great texture. As with any risotto you can put in all kinds of vegetables, like mushrooms, corn, tomatoes, or asparagus. You could add a huge range of veggies which makes it great for a Spring dish. I decided to keep this version very simple. I just used a red pepper and an onion for my veggies.
  • Now, if I were using a spring vegetable like asparagus for this dish, I'd still want it a bit crispy. So I would cook it quickly at the beginning, then remove it from the pan, then fold it back in after the risotto is cooked. If you don't do this, your veggies will just turn to mush. As a final touch for the dish, I highly recommend serving it with a good pinch of Parmesan cheese and fresh parsley! While this version of risotto takes a bit longer, I think it's actually easier. The wheat berries are a lot more forgiving than rice and you don't need to worry about overcooking them at all. If you're looking for a new twist on an old classic, this is a great one!
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