Pass the buck(wheat)

  IMG_5463Another carb-free week goes by and I'm fine. I don't miss bread as much as I thought. Basmati rice though, is a little harder to give up, we had lunch at Lahore Karai in Tooting the other day and the children tucked into a big plate of it without loosening their belts.

This week I've made a few dishes that are more springlike. A confit tuna Niçoise, a spring minestrone, smoked salmon with avocado and eggs, and a light spinach and apple soup among other things.

Last night though, with a breaking boiler and the cold weather still biting, we fancied something cosy and comforting: risotto. Rice is out of the question, but I've been using buckwheat a lot recently. I used buckwheat flour to make the children galettes the other day for lunch and I also used it to make soba noodles to go in a prawn and tofu miso soup. In the past I've toasted it in a frying pan before cooking it, making kasha to serve with salmon steaks. So I used it in place of my favourite Vialone Nano rice to make this simple mushroom 'risotto'.

Ingredients For two 150g buckwheat 1 small onion, chopped 1 clove of garlic, crushed 1tbsp powdered, dried porcini mushrooms (you can make your own in a grinder) 150g chestnut mushrooms, sliced 400ml chicken or vegetable stock. I used homemade chicken stock. Olive oil Salt and pepper 2tbsp butter Grated parmesan Chopped parsley to serve Method Sauté the mushrooms in a little oil and set aside. Heat some oil in a saucepan and add the onion and buckwheat. Cook for a few minutes until the onion is translucent and the grains are beginning to toast a little. Add the garlic, mushroom powder, season a little and stir well. Add a ladleful of the stock to the pan and stir well. Turn the heat down to a simmer and let the buckwheat absorb the liquid before adding the next. Keep on doing this until the stock is finished or the buckwheat is soft, but with a little bite. Add the cooked mushrooms and stir. Now for the 'mantecatura'. Add the butter and Parmesan and vigorously shake the pan while stirring with a wooden spoon. Put a lid on and leave to rest for a few minutes. Stir through some chopped parsley and serve with more Parmesan.