Pearl Barley Risotto (orzotto) With Sauteed Mushrooms

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“If you want to try something a bit different, this is it! Don't worry if you think the portions look small; pearl-barley is very filling and the mushrooms are full of flavour. In other words, a little goes a long way. The original recipe came from supplement to a Sainsburys magazine, called 'The Best of Italy'. I've been hoarding it for two years and am really pleased I finally got round to making something from it (so many recipes; so little time)! Needless to say, I have made a few tweaks to the original recipe, which called for 1tbsp each of celery and carrot (how much is that?), so I added my own amounts. Other tweaks include less oil, different mushrooms, more garlic and lets add some cheese!”
1hr 15mins

Ingredients Nutrition


  1. Place the dried porcini in a bowl and cover with 200ml of warm water, leave to soak for 30 minutes (you can use this time to prepare the other vegetables).
  2. Now start the orzotto: in a large saucepan, gently saute the onion in the olive oil until golden, then add the carrot, celery and pearl barley, turn up the heat and cook on a medium to high heat for 2 minutes.
  3. Add the wine and let it evaporate, then turn down the heat again to a low to medium temperature; add the stock a ladleful at a time, ensuring that the liquid is absorbed before adding the next ladleful of stock: this will take about 40 minutes and the pearl barley should be tender but with a bite.
  4. When the orzotto has been cooking for about 25 minutes, drain the porcini (save the liquid for other recipes) and start cooking the sauteed mushrooms: in a large lidded pan melt the butter and olive oil together and gently saute the onion and garlic until soft, stir in seasoning, add the mushrooms, porcini and parsley and cover and cook on a medium heat for 5 minutes.
  5. Remove the lid, turn up the heat and cook for about another 5 minutes, stirring the mushrooms, until most of the juices have evaporated.
  6. To serve: spoon the orzotto into a large round dish, pushing it towards the sides; spoon the mushroom mixture into the space left in the middle of the dish, sprinkle the mushrooms with parsley and pecorino cheese.

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