Is there a more pleasing, straight-to-the-cockles dish than risotto? OK, I might concede that a roast spud made with the beefiest of beef dripping - as was enjoyed with a bloody marvellous glass of Black Sheep Ale at Roast last night - is a great winter warmer but, for a simple tea of excellent value, the risotto is both satisfying and a great way of using up the 'bits' that gather in the fridge.

As a change, tonight's supper had a twist. No rice. Instead, I finally used the Sharpham Park Spelt I picked up at Borough Market a few weeks back. There are, apparently, all sorts of GI benefits to this suddenly quite trendy grain but the most important quality: it tastes good. The texture is also perfect for a risotto although, given the change of key ingredient, it does need a different name - hence the title of this piece.

And so to the prep. After sweating down a couple of onions (including something I'd never seen before: a 'stealth' onion which was red inside but looked golden and 'normal' on the outside), I used the entire bag of spelt (guess what we're having for lunch the next few days?) tipped in about half a bottle of white wine (Spar's surprinsingly good £3.99 Frascati) and let it all get absorbed. Then came the stirring and the gradual addition of two pints of chicken stock. While the final bit was simmering down / getting sucked into the spelt, it was time for a rummage in the fridge. Hence three crispy rashers of Tamworth bacon I'd cooked at the end of last week, a couple of slices of air dried ham that had been lurking on the bottom shelf and a lump of Neal's Yard parmesan that had seen better days. While this proved a little tough for grating, a moment of inspiration (rare) saw me grab the vegetable peeler and hack away until I'd strimmed out at all the cheesy goodness.

Now, the big finish. A couple of handfuls of peas (a vegetable I loathed as a kid but which has recently become one of my favourite ingredients) and then the inevitable big lump of butter. As that melted in, lending the whole bubbling dish a marvellous sheen, the secret ingredient went in. I was once told by an Italian that the secret of Italian cooking was the final splash. In an acidic dish - a tomato sauce, or bolognaise, for example - you enrich it with a glug of milk. In a rich, creamy dish like risotto (or, indeed, splotto), you go the other way, hence a healthy dash of red wine vinegar. Whether it's true or not - and any Italian readers, I'm bowing to your knowledge here, get commenting! - it seems to bring the dish together.

Finally, one of the most important bits. Turn the heat off and let it cool. Risotto holds its heat phenomenally well - it's a good two-and-a-half hours since I cooked it and it's only just got cool enough to put the remainder in the fridge - and the tastes come out so much more when it's not got the quality of napalm. Delicious.

While I'm on, the day's movie entertainment was provided by the alarming Stuck. Directed by Stuart 'Re-Animator' Gordon, it's a grisly tale about a care home worker (played by Mena Suvari) who hits a homeless man (the ever reliable Stephen Rea) with her car. Instead of stopping and reporting the crime, because she's over the limit she goes home and hides the car in her garage. With the homeless man still embedded in it. Oh, and he's still alive... And, incredibly, it's based on a true story. No, really. Given Gordon's background, there's a lot of dark humour and, while it settles into a revenge-based thriller, the odd moral centre, and basis in fact, makes it a jaw-dropping experience.

Not one to eat over dinner though. How much fake blood?!


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