Tuesday, January 31, 2012

barley, tomato and garlic risotto


I've been kind of obsessed with pearl barley lately. Just adding handfuls to soup here and there. It's so delicious and toothsome. I wondered aloud whether it would make an AMAZE risotto and I got flooded with responses!! My favourite (of course) featured an Ottolenghi link. This was made THAT afternoon. So delicious and exactly what I needed! I've modified the recipe quite a bit but I'm sure you'll love it.

recipe modified from Ottolenghi's Guardian column

1 tbsp olive oil
1 whole head garlic, cloves separated and peeled
5 large fresh tomatoes
3 tbsp tomato paste
1/4 tsp smoky paprika
a few shakes of tabasco
1 tsp dried thyme
2 strips fresh lemon zest (sliced thinly)
1 tsp caster sugar
1 tsp salt
1/2 cup pearl barley, well rinsed in cold water and drained
1 cup of water
chopped coriander to finish (to your taste)
1 tbsp of pine nuts

1. Plop tomatoes into a saucepan of boiling water for a few minutes until their skins start to break. Put tomatoes into a sink of cold water and leave for a few minutes their skins will start peeling away. Rub off the skins and chop tomatoes roughly.

2. In a large saucepan or cast iron pot, heat the olive oil on high and fry garlic cloves until they start to take a bit of colour.

3. Add the tomatoes, tomato paste, paprika, tabasco, thyme, lemon zest, sugar, salt, pearl barley and 1/2 of the water to the pot. Simmer for about 40 minutes until the barley is 'al dente' chewy but cooked. Make sure there is always enough water to cook the barley adding a bit and giving a stir every now and then. There should still be a bit of liquid at the end (see photo).

4. Finish the risotto off with fresh coriander, a sprinkle of pine nuts, a drizzle of olive oil and some salt and pepper.


  1. I made this last night and it was awesome! My boyfriend has been nagging me for ages to make risotto but being on a diet, I was all "NO FREAKING WAY!". Saw this yesterday, realised how brilliant it was and why hadn't I thought of it before? Anyways, I was a bit scared of using a whole head of garlic but oh man, it was a tasty treat indeed :) Looking forward to leftovers lunch. THANKS!

  2. Sounds delish Carla - I'd also recommend Kurma Dasa's lemon barely cordial from his book Great Vegetarian Dishes. Unfortunately he doesn't have the recipe on his site, although he does have a vegan recipe of the week! http://www.kurma.net/recipes/vegan.html There are heaps of lemon barley water recipes on taste.com.au though :-)


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