Wheatberry Risotto

This recipe is seemingly too simple to amount to much, but the fat from the bacon combined with the nutty wheatberries and tang of the cheese and lemon is really something special. You can always skip the bacon or make with risotto rice or farro.

Print this page


4 oz bacon, cut into pieces (optional)
2 onion, sliced thinly
4 cloves garlic, minced
1 tsp salt
1 cup dry white wine or hard cider
1 cup wheatberries
6 cups water or broth
1/4 cup grated parmesan
olive oil
1 lemon, zest


  1. Bring the water or broth to a simmer on the back of the stove so that it is hot when you add the wheatberries
  2. In a large shallow pan, cook the bacon over medium heat until rendered and starting to crisp
  3. When crisp, remove from the pan leaving the fat in the skillet, then add the onion, garlic and salt and sweat until soft and starting to caramelize slightly, about 12 minutes
  4. Add the wine and reduce until almost dry
  5. Add the wheatberries and toast with the onion and garlic mixture for a minute or so
  6. Add 4-6 oz of the water to the wheatberries and stir constantly
  7. When the liquid has been absorbed, add the next ladleful and repeat until the liquid is gone or the wheatberries are tender
  8. When the wheatberries are tender, add the bacon back in
  9. To serve, divvy between dishes and finish with a sprinkle of the lemon and parmesan a turn of black pepper and drizzle of olive oil