In Season: Barley risotto with pumpkin and parsley

Barley is wholesome, filling and easy on the pocket. It also has a wonderful texture that complements the sweet roasted pumpkin and fresh parsley.

Barley risotto with pumpkin and parsley  
Serves 4



850g pumpkin, skinned and deseeded
5 Tbsp olive oil or any good-quality oil
150g butter
1 medium onion, or leek, finely diced
Salt and freshly ground pepper
2 garlic cloves, finely chopped
350g barley
1.5 litres hot vegetable stock
75ml dry white wine or vermouth (optional)
75g parsley, finely chopped
100g parmesan cheese, freshly grated



Peel the pumpkin and cut into 3cm chunks, placing into a bowl along with 3 Tbsp of the oil. Season with salt and pepper.

Turn on to a baking tray and roast in the oven for about 30 minutes or until browned on the outside and tender inside.

Remove from the oven and set aside.

Melt half the butter and the remaining olive oil in a large heavy-based saucepan and cook the onion without colouring until soft and transparent (about five minutes).

Add garlic and barley and continue to cook so every grain is coated in butter. I like to almost toast the grains of barley for a few extra minutes so that the flavour becomes a little nutty.

Turn the heat up and add the wine (if using). Stir well and let the liquid reduce. Once it has reduced, add one ladleful of hot stock at a time and stir well so it can be absorbed into the barley.

Continue adding ladles of hot stock until the barley becomes plump and tender (30 minutes). Add the cooked pumpkin and fold through.

Season well with salt and pepper. Add the parsley and a generous handful of the grated parmesan cheese. Mix gently to combine.

Serve with a little more grated parmesan on top and a grind or two of pepper.


Alison Lambert, chef at the Otago Farmers Market, will be demonstrating this recipe at the market on Saturday morning.

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