Slice the shallots rather than chopping them – spelt is a robust grain so it needs reasonably chunky vegetables to sit alongside it. Heat some olive oil in a large pan and add the shallots and garlic and fry gently, stirring every now and then until they have taken on a little colour.
Add the thyme and stir. Unlike an ordinary risotto you don’t need to keep the onions translucent. Add some seasoning and stir in the spelt, keeping the pan moving so it doesn’t stick. Now add the mushrooms and fry them well to get a bit of colour on them, next add the pancetta and fry it until it is well coloured.
You really have to give everything a good blast of heat, especially the grains as this really opens them up and helps them absorb the stock.