Pearl barley risotto with roasted winter vegetables

Swap risotto rice with plump pearl barley for a healthier alternative.

  • Preparation Time10 mins
  • Cooking Time55 mins
  • Serves4
  • DifficultyMedium

For the roasted vegetables

1 medium carrot, sliced
1 small celeriac (about 225g), peeled and cut into 2cm chunks
1/2 small butternut squash, halved, peeled, seeded, and cut into 2cm chunks
4 tbsp extra-virgin olive oil, divided

For the pearl barley risotto

1L chicken or vegetable stock, homemade or low-sodium canned
2 sprigs of fresh thyme
6g salt, plus additional for seasoning
200g pearl barley
1/2 medium onion, chopped
2 cloves garlic, smashed
125ml dry white wine
250g torn mustard greens (1 small bunch), if not available spinach is fine
Freshly ground black pepper
100g freshly grated Parmesan, optional
1) Preheat the oven to 220C/Gas Mark 7.

2) Toss the carrot, celeriac, and butternut squash with 2 tbsp of the olive oil and the salt on a baking sheet and spread out in an even layer. Roast until golden and tender, about 25 mins.

3) Combine the chicken stock and thyme in a small saucepan and bring to a simmer.

4) Heat the remaining 2 tbsp olive oil in the saucepan over medium-high heat. Add the barley, onion and garlic, and cook, stirring occasionally, until the vegetables soften a bit, about 5 mins. Pour in the wine, and cook, stirring constantly, until the liquid is absorbed. Add 475ml of the stock, reduce the heat to medium-low, and simmer until the liquid is absorbed, stirring frequently. Add the remaining stock and simmer, stirring occasionally, until the barley is tender but still slightly firm and the mixture is still soupy, about 30 mins. Add the roasted vegetables and cook until the vegetables are heated through. Stir the mustard greens or spinach into the risotto, then let the mixture sit until the greens wilt, about 3 mins. If the risotto thickens up too much, thin it out with a little hot water. Season with salt and pepper. Serve immediately. Pass grated cheese at the table.

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