Pot barley risotto with roasted squash and porcini mushrooms

In keeping with this week’s time, I wanted to use up some of the grains I had in the press.  I had half a pack of arborio rice and 3/4 pack of pot barley.  I decided to make a risotto using the latter ingredient.  I’ve only ever cooked barley twice in my entire life and hoped that the 3rd attempt will work like a charm.

The dish I ended up making tonight was pot barley risotto with roasted squash and porcini mushrooms.  The flavours were wonderful and the risotto was very light.   There was slight bite to the barley, mimicking the al-dente texture you’d find in a normal risotto.  Would I make this dish again? Absolutely.

Serves 2

Cooking time: 1 hour (including prep)


  • 100g butternut squash, peeled, deseeded and diced
  • Fry lite spray
  • 15g dried porcini mushrooms, soaked in hot water for 20 minutes
  • a knob of butter
  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 yellow onion, peeled and chopped
  • 1 cup pot barley
  • 1 tsp dried thyme
  • 1 litre stock
  • 2 tbsp Marsala wine
  • salt and black pepper to taste


  1. Pre-heat the oven at 180 degrees
  2. Arrange the diced squash on a foil-lined baking try
  3. Spray some Fry lite over the squash and bake in the oven for 20 minutes
  4. Remove from the oven and leave to cool while you get on with the risotto
  5. Heat butter and oil in a pot large enough for a risotto
  6. Sweat the onions with a pinch of salt for 5 minutes over low heat
  7. Add the thyme to the onions and continue to cook for another 3 minutes until the onions are really soft
  8. Add the pot barley and mix well with the onions.  Cook for 3 to 4 minutes
  9. Pour in a ladle of stock and gently stir the pot barley for a minute
  10. Leave to cook until stock has almost evaporated, and then add 2 ladles of stock (about 8 minutes)
  11. Continue to cook the pot barley over low heat until the stock almost evaporates  (another 8 minutes or so).  Give the dish a stir
  12. Add the cooked squash and drained mushrooms into the risotto
  13. Pour in the marsala wine and once this has evaporated, then add 2 more ladles of stock
  14. Repeat steps 10 and 11 and cook the risotto for about 20 minutes until it is cooked and the stock has evaporated, but with a slight bite (keep tasting, that’s the key)
  15. The risotto took about 40 minutes to cook from step 5 onwards
  16. Season with salt and pepper, and serve with freshly chopped herbs (I used basil as that’s what I had handy)



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