Risotto is a staple in our house. In fact, it’s one of my favourite meals to cook, especially in the cooler months. For me it’s one of those dishes I can whip up without thinking too much, and it’s always delicious and comforting to eat.
Instead of making the usual rice based risottos this winter I wanted to try something a little different. As much as I love risotto and rice, it’s great to switch things up a little, and I love the challenge of using ingredients in new and unusual ways. So, I decided to try my hand at a barley risotto.
I’ve seen barley risottos on a number of restaurant menus, usually accompanying meat dishes, but have actually never tried it before. So for my first attempt at making, and eating, barley risotto, I decided to pair with delicious roasted butternut pumpkin and baby spinach. Given this was my first attempt at making barley risotto I was prepared for it not to work out, but it did and it was delicious, and definitely something I will make again.
If you’ve never had barley risotto before be prepared for a richer stronger flavour compared to your usual rice based risotto. It almost has a nutty flavour and provides a lovely, slightly chewy texture. It’s delicious on it’s own, but my meat eating boyfriend said he thought it would be a great dish to pair with roasted duck breast.
Have you ever tried barley risotto before? What did you think?
Roasted Butternut Pumpkin, Spinach & Barley Risotto
- 600g of butternut pumpkin (squash), peeled and chopped into bite sized cubes
- 2 tablespoons of olive oil
- salt & pepper, to taste
- 1 large onion, chopped
- 2 cloves of garlic, grated
- 1 cup of barley
- 4 cups of vegetable stock
- 1/2 cup of white wine
- 150g of baby spinach
- 1/4 cup of grated parmesan
- 3 teaspoons of butter
1. I made this risotto (in fact I make all my risottos) in the rice cooker which makes the process of making risotto much easier as you don’t need to stand at the stove the entire time to stir it. You do however, need to stir the risotto occasionally, so make sure you check on it every so often and give it a good stir.
2. If you want a softer risotto you may like to add up to an additional 1 cup of vegetable stock.
1. Preheat the oven to 180 degrees Celsius (355 Fahrenheit).
2. Place the butternut pumpkin in a baking dish and toss with 1 tablespoon of the olive oil and season with salt and pepper to taste and roast until softened and slightly golden brown. This will take about an hour.
3. Meanwhile, switch a rice cooker on to cook mode and add 1 tablespoon of olive oil, onion and garlic and cook until the onion is softened golden brown.
4. Add the barley and toss in the oil, onion and garlic to coat before adding the white wine. Cook until the wine is almost completely absorbed before adding the stock. Stir well and cover the rice cooker with the lid and cook 45 minutes or until the stock is mostly absorbed, stirring ocassionally.
5. Add the roasted butternut pumpkin and cook for a few minutes, stirring to combine. Check seasoning and adjust to taste.
6. Once the stock is almost absorbed add the butter and parmesan and stir well to combine. Just before serving add the baby spinach and cook until wilted.
7. Top with additional grated parmesan to serve.