Barley risotto

Barley risotto

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  • 3 as main course or 4 to 5 as a starter
  • Easy
  • Fat conscious Health conscious
  • 10 minutes
  • 50 minutes


  • 1 Litre best quality lightly salted chicken stock (preferably home-made) or lightly flavoured vegetable stoc
  • 60-70 ml olive oil
  • 70 g finely chopped onions
  • 25 g pine kernels (optional, but they add wonderful flavour and texture to the dish)
  • 250 g peal barley
  • 100 ml dry white wine
  • 120 g porcini mushrooms or other full flavoured mushrooms (or substitute with 20g dried porcini mushrooms
  • 10 ml chopped fresh sage or oregano (optional), plus extra to serve
  • 100 g finely grated Parmasen or aged pecorino, plus extra shavings to serve
  • olive oil, to serve

Cooking Instructions

Pour the stock into a saucepan and heat gently.  Pour the olive oil into another saucepan that can hold all the ingredients with room to spare, and sauté the onion for about 3 minutes. Once the onion is translucent, add the pine kernels, ifusing, and pearl barley.

Keep the temperature moderate to high and stir until the barley kernels are shiny, about 2 minutes. Add the wine, stir briefly, then turn down the heat. Pour yourself a glass of wine, turn on the music and, as soon as the wine has evaporated, add 250ml (1 cup) or so of the heated stock to the risotto.

Stir gently and let the mixture absorb all the stock before you add more. This is the most peaceful or most boring part of cooking a risotto, as it takes about 35 to 40 minutes of gradually adding stock and stirring to soften the pearl barley to create an unctuous dish that will chase away the winter blues.

Before you add the last cup of stock, add the mushrooms and fresh herbs. Add the last of the stock then stir in the grated cheese. Turn off the heat and cover the saucepan with a clean dishcloth and a lid. Let the risotto rest for 5 minutes then serve with the extra cheese shavings, a few baby sage leaves and olive oil.

The creator of this recipe is Mariana Esterhuizen who is the owner/chef of Marianas Home Deli & Bistro in Stanford. You can call her on (028) 341-0272 if you have any queries about this recipe.

Mariana Esterhuizen Recipe by: Mariana Esterhuizen
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