Einkorn and Spotted Shrimp Risotto with Butternut Squash and Almonds

In the autumn, I rely on simple, warming one-dish dinners. They require so little clean-up, and the slow commitment to stirring the risotto as it cooks offers me a point of peace and meditative quiet. This version of risotto, is one of my favorites. Instead of rice I use einkorn wheat berries which give the risotto a wonderful chewiness, while almonds offer a crunch and both butternut squash and spot prawns contribute a touch of sweetness -- perfect for late fall vata. 

**Einkorn is an ancient variety of wheat, and the first wheat to be cultivated in what is now southeast Turkey.  After its initial cultivation, einkorn spread throughout Europe, the Middle East and into north Africa. As a non-hybridized, heirloom variety of wheat, einkorn is richer in phytonutrients than modern wheat, higher in protein, and higher in antioxidants.

Ingredients

  • 2 cups einkorn wheat berries 
  • 1 tablespoon apple cider vinegar
  • 1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil 
  • 1 tablespoon Herb-Infused Ghee
  • 3 cloves garlic, chopped
  • 1 shallot, sliced thin
  • ½ cup blanched almonds, coarsely chopped
  • 1 cup chopped butternut squash
  • ¾ pound Pacific spot prawns 
  • 4 cups chicken bone broth, plus additional broth as needed
  • ½ cup dry white wine
  • 1 bunch spinach, trimmed of stems and coarsely chopped

Instructions

The night before you plan to make this dish, place the einkorn wheat berries into a medium mixing bowl. Cover them with warm water, and stir in the apple cider vinegar. Allow the einkorn to soak, tightly covered, for 18 to 24 hours, then drain them in a fine-mesh sieve, rinse them well and set them aside.

Warm the olive oil and ghee in a wide stainless steel or enameled cast iron skillet over medium heat. When the ghee melts and mingles with the olive oil, toss in the garlic and shallot. Fry them in the olive oil, stirring frequently to prevent scorching, for 3 to 5 minutes, or until they become fragrant. Stir in the almonds and continue cooking them a further 2 minutes, or until they begin to brown ever so slightly.

Turn the down the heat to medium-low. Stir in the soaked einkorn, and stir into the garlic, shallot and almonds for 3 minutes. Stir in the butternut squash, and pour in the broth ½ cup at a time, stirring continuously with each addition, until the liquid is absorbed by the cooking grains, about 30 minutes. Stir in the spotted shrimp and the white wine, cooking until the shrimp curl under the heat of the stove, about 3 minutes. Stir in the spinach, and continue cooking until the liquid is largely absorbed by the grains, and the spinach wilts in the heat of the risotto. Adjust seasoning with salt, and serve warm.

Sachi Doctor

Elemental Alchemy, 90 Rio Vista Avenue, Oakland, CA, 94611

Sachi Doctor is an Ayurvedic practitioner and holistic health coach who founded Elemental Alchemy with the mission to provide a resource for those navigating their way towards optimal mind-body health.

Diagnosed with an autoimmune disease at a young age, Sachi has spent over twenty years exploring different health modalities, treatment plans, diets and mindfulness practices to help alleviate chronic pain and restore balance.

After years of looking to others for a model of health with no relief, Sachi realized that the answers she sought were not hidden in someone else’s prescription for wellness but unique to her, and that the first step towards discovery was actually tuning out what was right for others and tuning into herself.

As she tapped into the wisdom of her own body, she discovered that the elements foundational for health  — the blueprint she so fervently sought — was within her, within each of us. Since then Sachi has been passionate about helping others also cultivate clarity and inner wisdom for vibrant health.

In addition to her Ayurvedic and nutrition education, Sachi has completed over 800 hours of yoga teacher training and continues to study with her mother, her first yoga teacher, for whom these practices are a way of life.

Sachi is a board member of the Prison Yoga Project at San Quentin State Prison and serves as an ambassador for Yoga Gives Back, a non-profit that raises funds within the US yoga community to support microcredit programs for women in India. She holds a Msc in Development from the London School of Economics.