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Slow-cooked pearl barley risotto with blue cheese and squash


Serves: 6
timePrep time: 35 mins
timeTotal time:
Slow-cooked pearl barley risotto with blue cheese and squash
Recipe photograph by Martin Poole

Slow-cooked pearl barley risotto with blue cheese and squash

A brilliant veggie main, which can also be cooked quickly on the hob if you have last-minute dinner party guests

Serves: 6
timePrep time: 35 mins
timeTotal time:

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Nutritional information (per serving)
Calories
629Kcal
Fat
35gr
Saturates
16gr
Carbs
52gr
Sugars
6gr
Fibre
3gr
Protein
20gr
Salt
2.3gr

Lucy Jessop

Lucy Jessop

Lucy, our former Food Editor creates lots of delicious meals each month. Her recipes are always packed with flavour and they're super easy too!
See more of Lucy Jessop’s recipes
Lucy Jessop

Lucy Jessop

Lucy, our former Food Editor creates lots of delicious meals each month. Her recipes are always packed with flavour and they're super easy too!
See more of Lucy Jessop’s recipes

Ingredients

  • 2 tbsp olive oil
  • 50g butter, plus a little extra
  • 3 large echalion shallots, finely chopped
  • 3 celery sticks, finely diced
  • 4 large garlic cloves, finely chopped
  • 300g dried pearl barley
  • 200ml white wine or Prosecco
  • 1.2 litres hot vegetable stock
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 2 sprigs of rosemary
  • ½ medium butternut squash (about 500g), peeled and deseeded, cut into 1.5cm cubes
  • 75g Italian-style vegetarian hard cheese, finely grated
  • 2 tbsp double cream
  • 150g vegetarian blue cheese, crumbled, to serve
For the hazelnut topping (optional)
  • 25g blanched hazelnuts, roughly chopped
  • 2 tbsp olive oil
  • 40g panko breadcrumbs (or leftover ciabatta crumbs)
  • 1 sprig of rosemary, leaves only, chopped
  • 25g Italian-style vegetarian hard cheese, finely grated
  • zest of 1 lemon

Step by step

Get ahead
Cook the butternut squash the day before.
  1. Preheat the slow cooker to low. Heat half each of the oil and butter in a large deep frying pan, add the shallots and celery and cook over a low heat for 10 minutes until softened. Stir in the garlic and cook for a further minute. Increase the heat and add the pearl barley, stirring for 1 minute.
  2. Pour in the white wine, bubble for 2 minutes or until almost fully reduced. Transfer to the slow cooker, along with the hot stock, bay leaf and rosemary sprigs. Stir well; season. Cover with the lid and cook on the low setting for 1 hour.
  3. Meanwhile, return the frying pan to a medium heat; add the remaining oil and butter. When hot, add the squash and increase the heat to high. Cook for 6-8 minutes, turning occasionally until golden brown on all sides. Transfer to a plate lined with kitchen paper and set aside.
  4. After 1 hour the pearl barley should be almost tender. Stir in the squash and cook for a further 45 minutes-1 hour on the low setting until the stock has been almost fully absorbed, the barley is tender with a little bite, and the squash is cooked through. Switch off the slow cooker. Stir in the grated hard cheese and cream, season well and leave to sit for 5-10 minutes.
  5. Meanwhile, make the topping: heat a large frying pan until hot, add the hazelnuts and cook over a low-medium heat until just toasted. Add the olive oil, breadcrumbs and rosemary and stir-fry over a low- medium heat until turning golden. Mix in the cheese and lemon zest; season and cook for 3-4 minutes, stirring occasionally until crisp and fragrant. Tip onto a plate to cool.
  6. When the risotto is ready, spoon into bowls. Top with the blue cheese and a sprinkling of the hazelnut topping.
    Tip
    No slow cooker? Simply cook the risotto in the deep frying pan. Cook for 15 mins in step 2, increasing the stock to 1.5 litres, then cook for a further 15 mins after adding the squash. 

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