Wheat Berry Risotto with Vegetables a Vegetarian Main Course
This recipe for Cremoso de Mote is my soft wheat berry risotto variation. It is a dish that we ate twice while visiting Easter Island in 2019. Soft wheat berries (trigo mote) are cooked risotto-style, then sautéed vegetables are added. I didn’t get an exact recipe from the chef, but he gave me a list of ingredients through a translator. Recreating it from that minimal information was up to me.
I paired it with a nice Côtes du Rhône rosé; visit the Provence WineZine to read more. Easter Island may be far from Provence, but this wine pairing with Les Cassagnes rosé (2022) from the Château La Nerthe vineyard in Châteauneuf du Pape was perfect.
If a soft wheat berry recipe seems out of place, remember that many chefs borrow culinary techniques from other countries, such as preparing Italian risotto. In Provence, ingredients such as spelt (épeautre), wheat berries (grains de blé), chickpeas (pois chiches), along with other ancient grains and legumes are grown in part of the Var, Alpes de Haute Provence, and the Drôme Provencal.
Wheat Berry Risotto my Cremoso de Mote
- 2 cups Trigo Mote soft wheat berries; see notes
- 4 cups Hot Chicken or Vegetable Broth divided
- 4 tbsp Butter divided
- 2 tbsp Olive Oil divided
- 1 medium Zucchini diced
- 1 Orange Bell Pepper seeded and diced
- 1 Yellow Bell Pepper seeded and diced
- 8 oz Small Mushrooms — white or brown quartered
- 8 oz Grape Tomatoes diced
- 2 Artichoke Bottoms diced at the last minute (see notes)
- 1 large Shallot diced
- 1/2 cup White Wine
- 1/4 cup heavy cream (35%)
- Bring 4 cups of chicken broth (or vegetable broth for the vegetarian version) to a boil in a large saucepan. Add the trigo mote and return to the boil; reduce heat so the wheat boils gently for 10 minutes. Ensure the trigo mote has enough liquid to cover; add hot water if needed. Drain.
- Meanwhile, add 2 tablespoon butter and 1 tablespoon olive oil to a large skillet over medium heat. Add the diced zucchini, bell peppers, mushrooms, and tomatoes. Dice the artichoke bottoms and add them. Season everything with salt and pepper and sauté until vegetables are tender and beginning to turn golden — about 10 minutes. Remove from the heat.
- Add 1 tablespoon of butter and the remaining tablespoon of olive oil to a large deep skillet or stockpot over medium-high heat. Add the diced shallot and cook until clear — about 1 minute. Add the cooked trigo mote and stir to coat, as you would risotto; season with salt. Add the wine and cook until it has evaporated, stirring once or twice. Then add the broth, one ladle at a time, letting it cook down and absorb into the wheat. Stir occasionally, but not constantly, as with risotto.
- When all the broth is used up, add the cooked vegetables and stir them in; add the remaining tablespoon of butter and the cream. Cook for a couple of minutes, until thick and creamy. Season to taste before serving.