SPRING GREEN RISOTTO

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We are avid supporters of meat-free Monday, but this delicious any day of the week! Its creamy consistency adds a layer of luxury to this dish that will leave you wanting another helping! Barley is a cereal grain with a chewy texture and mild, nutty flavour. It’s the seed of a type of grass that grows in temperate climates throughout the world and one of the first grains to have been farmed by ancient civilizations. Though it grows wild in regions of western Asia and northeast Africa, it’s widely cultivated for human and animal food and for use in beer and whisky production.

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Ingredients

100g Pearl barley
30ml White wine
40g Onion (finely chopped)
25ml Olive oil
1 Garlic clove (finely chopped)
1g Thyme (fresh)
250ml Vegetable stock
30g cooked Leeks (sliced)
50g Spinach (roughly chopped)
Pinch of salt and pepper
25g cooked Green beans (chopped)
15g Grana Padano cheese

Method

1. Heat the stock in a saucepan and simmer over a very low heat 
2. In another large saucepan over a medium heat, fry the chopped onion in 15ml olive oil, then add the chopped garlic and thyme. Fry until soft for about 5-8 minutes
3. Add the pearl barley to the onion, garlic and thyme mixture, stir and combine. After 2-3 minutes add the white wine. Let the pearl barley absorb the wine completely
4. Slowly add the vegetable stock to the pearl barley stirring gently and wait for the stock to be fully absorbed before adding more stock, just like you’d do with a regular risotto. Stock should be fully absorbed in approx. 17-25 minutes 
5. While the pearl barley is cooking away, in a separate pan sweat the leeks in 10ml of olive oil with a pinch of salt and pepper, stir occasionally until tender
6. Add a handful of chopped spinach and green beans. Stir until the spinach is soft and wilted. When all the stock has been absorbed add the leeks, beans and spinach to the pearl barley and combine together
7. Serve in a warm pasta bowl and garnish with Grana Padano shavings