14 May 2013

Pearl Barley Risotto with Courgette, Chorizo and Feta Cheese

Risotto needs love.

It's one of those dishes that takes some time, care and attention but if you make the effort you are left with a creamy, deliciously rich meal!
This risotto uses pearl barley, that is high in fibre and still has a little bite to it when cooked.
The secret to a good risotto is a really good stock and patience.
Patience is key. 
Add the stock a ladleful at a time until all the liquid is absorbed. Pearl barley needs stirring a little less than risotto rice but you still need to help it along in persuading the barley to release it's starch, giving you that creaminess.
Another important step is that when the barley is at your preferred tenderness, remove it from the heat and let it stand for a minute, stirring in a little butter and grated Parmesan to give it that glossy sheen.
If you stick to these rules then you should be able to master a brilliant risotto for the next time you're looking to impress!


1tbsp olive oil
1 medium onion
1 large garlic clove, crushed
1 stick celery, finely diced
200g pearl barley
1 large glass white wine
1 medium courgette, finely chopped
1300ml good quality vegetable stock
Salt and pepper
1tsp double concentrated tomato puree
1tsp chopped chilli
25g butter
20g parmesan
A few chorizo slices
Feta cheese


1. Heat 1tbsp of olive oil in a deep frying pan on a high heat. Peel and finely chop the onion and add to the pan along with the crushed garlic. Fry for approximately 3-5 minutes until soft and beginning to take on colour. 

2. Add the celery and cook for a further minute before adding the pearl barley. Fry the pearl barley for 3-5 minutes, stirring constantly and then add the white wine. 

3. Stir again until the white wine has been absorbed and the alcohol has evaporated and then add in the courgette and a ladle full of stock. 

4. Turn the heat down slightly to a simmer and continue adding a ladle full of stock at a time, stirring between each addition until the liquid has been absorbed. 

5. After about 15-20 minutes of doing this the barley should be starting to expand and releasing its starch, turning the risotto slightly thicker and creamier. 

6. At this stage, add in the tomato puree and chilli and season well with salt and pepper. 

7. Continue adding the stock and simmering the risotto for a further 30-40 minutes (so about 50 mins in total) until the risotto looks creamy and the pearl barley is tender but still has a slight bite to it. It is important to make sure that the risotto is always slightly runny instead of dry as it will very quick catch on the bottom of the pan.

8. Once cooked to your preferred tenderness, remove from the heat and stir in the butter and finely grated parmesan until silky and rich. 

Serve the risotto immediately with some feta cheese and torn chorizo. 

If you follow me on twitter @KatieBrigstock you'll also know that our new vegetable patch at home has just been built and we're starting to plant the first seeds- VERY exciting. 

Luckily Eddie has taken to being the guard dog rather than using the new beds as a playground for digging!
Let's hope it stays this way!

A sleepy puppy in the sun- guarding the newly sown veg!


  1. mhmm chorizo adds such a special taste to any dish, and with the feta as well must taste great!

    Oooo look at those little baby plants rising. You must be a proud mama =)

    Teffy || teffysperks.blogspot.com


  2. You really know how to cook! I'm obsessed with chorizo, courgettes and feta so this recipe is just me all over!

    Rebecca xx


Thank you so much for taking the time to comment. It's really appreciated and lovely to hear some feedback. Katie x