Barley, roasted vegetable and caramelized garlic risotto
Pearl barley makes a great alternative to arborio rice in risottos as it doesn’t require constant stirring and gives a lovely nutty texture to the dish. Here it is combined with oven roasted vegetables and caramelised garlic.
4 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
2 large onions
8 large garlic cloves
250 g carrots, roughly chopped
250 g baby beetroot, cut into wedges
250 g peeled pumpkin, diced
2 sprigs each of fresh thyme and rosemary
350 g pearl barley
100 ml dry white wine
1 litre chicken or vegetable stock
25 g freshly grated Pecorino or Parmesan
2 tbsp chopped fresh basil, plus a few leaves
salt and pepper
Preheat the oven to 200 c/fan forced 180c and line a roasting tin with baking paper. Cut 1 onion into thin wedges and place in the prepared tin with the garlic, carrots, beetroot, pumpkin, herbs and salt and pepper. Add half the oil, stir well and roast for 45-50 minutes, stirring half way through until the vegetables are tender.
Meanwhile, after the vegetables have been cooking for 15 minutes, finely chop the remaining onion. Heat the oil in a saucepan and fry the onion with a little salt and pepper for 5 minutes until softened. Add the barely and stir for 1 minute until all the grains are glossy. Add the wine and boil until evaporated, then add the stock, bring to the boil and simmer gently, uncovered for 30 minutes until the barley is al dente and the liquid absorbed.
Remove the vegetables from the oven and stir into the barley with the cheese and herbs. Season to taste and serve with extra cheese and basil leaves.