I am going through a bit of an Italian phase at the moment. And a pumpkin phase (actually, the pumpkin thing isn’t so much a phase as a life-long love affair). Apparently, though, it is not just my heart that is longing to go to Italy, but my taste buds as well. However, until I head to Europe again, my kitchen adventures will have to suffice.
Pearl barley and rosemary roast pumpkin orzotto (a risotto with pearly barley instead of rice – yeah, you heard me). Pearl barely is a delicious, healthy, nuttier alternative to rice and quite frankly, makes a perfect risotto. This recipe is my go to if I’m feeling like something a little Italian and a lot comforting. I have made mushroom and white wine orzottos, sweet potato versions and tomato versions – all with a huge amount of success. I am uncertain whether this is my favourite version or whether it’s mushroom and white wine. Why choose?
Amazingly simple, nourishing and satisfying of those Italian longings.
- 500 grams pumpkin, chopped into 2cm cubes
- 3 sprigs rosemary
- bulb of garlic
- coconut oil
- 1 onion diced
- 2 cups pearl barley
- 1.5 litres vegetable stock
- 1/2 cup savoury yeast flakes or Parmesan cheese
- salt and pepper to taste
- Toasted pepitas (optional)
- Preheat the oven to 180 degrees Celcius. Cut the top off the bulb of garlic and chop the pumpkin into same size cubes of about 2 cm. Cut the skin off of the pumpkin and place on the tray as well. Generously sprinkle over the rosemary leaves and spray with coconut oil. Roast for about 25 minutes until the pumpkin is soft, but not yet caramelizing around the edges. Remove the garlic and the pumpkin cubes from the oven, but turn over the pumpkin skins and spray with more oil to crisp.
- In the meantime, heat a saucepan over a medium heat and add the onions. Stir until transparent. Add 2 cups of pearled barley and stir for 1 minute. Add 6 cups of the vegetable stock and bring to simmer. Leave to simmer, stirring occasionally, until nearly all the liquid has absorbed. Add the remainder of the stock, 1 cup at a time until nearly all liquid has absorbed (around 45 minutes). Turn heat to low.
- Add the pumpkin, squeeze the garlic cloves out of their skins and rosemary to the pan. Stir, mashing the pumpkin through the pearled barley. Stir through nutritional yeast or Parmesan cheese. Season with salt and pepper to taste.
- Serve with crispy pumpkin skins and lightly toasted pepitas, a sprinkle of parmeson cheese or nutritional yeast flakes and rosemary.