Green Barley Risotto with Peas and Asparagus (4)

A delicious vegetarian supper from ” Med” by Claudia Roden. If you like it can be made in advance, but the asparagus should be cooked at the last minute.

Green Barley Risotto with Peas and Asparagus (4)
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Green Barley Risotto with Peas and Asparagus (4)
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  1. Wash the barley in a bowl of cold water and rinse in a sieve under cold running water.
  2. Fry the onion in the oil in a large pan over a low heat, stirring often, for 5-8 minutes. It should be soft but not coloured.
  3. Pour in 500ml water and the wine. Add the stockpots or stock cubes and bring to the boil. Pour in the barley, cover and simmer over a low heat until the grain is tender , adding salt and pepper midway through cooking. It will take between 40 and 60 minutes, depending on the grain and how soft you like it. Add water if it is dry- it should be very moist with a little liquid.
  4. Cook the petit pois for 5 minutes in a little boiling water then drain, reserving the cooking water, Using a hand blender blend to a rough puree, adding about 5 tbsps of the cooking liquid. Everything can be prepared in advance up to this point.
  5. Just before you are ready to serve reheat the barley, adding a little more water if needed. Reheat the pea puree and stir into the barley with the creme frauche and lemon zest.
  6. While the barley is reheating poach the asparagus pieces in salted water for 2 minutes or until they are al dente. Drain. Serve the barley with the asparagus on top. Pass around the lemon quarters and the grated cheese.
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