Thursday, July 14, 2011

Roast Pumpkin and Sage Barley Risotto

I love risotto, but it is not easy to make on a busy weeknight, with all the stirring and the waiting and the watching and the stirring. So when I discovered barley risotto, which doesn't need nearly as much babysitting as regular risotto, I was chuffed. I have made a few different versions of a barely risotto since discovering the recipe I adapted here, including a delightful mushroom and rosemary one. This is my latest invention, based on a flavour combination I found in my River Cottage Everyday cookbook. I was thrilled with how it turned out - so creamy and delicious. The perfect winter meal, I think.

Roast Pumpkin and Sage Barley Risotto

1/2 small pumpkin, chopped into small cubes (about 3 cups)
3 cloves garlic, chopped finely
1 onion, chopped finely
2 Tbsp fresh sage, chopped finely
3 Tbsp olive oil
1 1/2 cups pearl barley
1 Tbsp lemon juice
1 1/2 cups stock (vege or chicken)
1 cup milk
1/2 cup white wine
1/4 cup grated parmesan
1 Tbsp butter
Salt and pepper to taste

Heat the oven to 200 degrees Celsius. Toss the cubed pumpkin and two cloves of the garlic in two tablespoons of olive oil and bake until cooked through and a little bit crispy. While the pumpkin is baking, fry the remaining garlic and onion in the remaining olive oil until softened. Add the pearl barley and stir until shiny with oil and sizzling a bit. Add the chopped sage and cook another minute or so. Then add the liquids, stir well and cook on medium with the lid on for 40-45 minutes. Keep checking regularly, as you don't want it to burn to the bottom. Once the liquid is absorbed and the barely cooked until just a little bit chewy, stir through the parmesan and butter and gently fold in the roasted pumpkin cubes. Season to taste and voila, it's ready to eat.

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