This is another tasty alternative to an Italian risotto, here made with barley groats. The grains give a slightly different texture to an Italian risotto, but the overall dish is lighter and healthier. You can try this with buckwheat, too.
- Yield: 4 Servings
- 1 lb 5 oz (600 g) courgettes (zucchini), cubed
- 9 oz (250 g) asparagus, stalks trimmed, stems sliced on the diagonal
- 1 tbsp vegetable oil, plus extra for drizzling over the vegetables
- 1 grated lemon zest
- 1 garlic clove, grated
- 1 white onion, finely chopped
- 7 oz 1 cup (200 g) barley groats (kasza je˛czmienna perłowa)
- 1¾ pints 4 cups (1 litre) vegetable stock
- sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
- 1 tsp butter
- 2 tsp chopped fresh parsley
How to Make It
- Preheat the oven to 200°C/400°F/Gas Mark 6. Scatter the courgettes and asparagus (saving the trimmed woody ends) on a large baking tray lined with baking parchment. Drizzle over a little oil and scatter over the lemon zest and garlic. Roast for 15 minutes, then set to one side.
- Heat 1 tablespoon of oil in a large, wide pan, preferably cast-iron. Add the onion and cook over a low heat for 10 minutes, until soft and translucent. Add the barley and stir well so that the grains are coated in oil.
- In a separate pan, bring the stock to a gentle boil. Add the trimmed ends of the asparagus stalks. Add a ladleful of the hot stock to the barley (leaving the asparagus trimmings in to flavour the stock), stirring until almost all of the liquid has been absorbed before adding another ladleful. Keep going until all the stock has been absorbed. The barley will take around 15 minutes to cook and soften.
- Taste to check it is cooked and season with salt and pepper. Stir in the roasted courgette and asparagus. Add the butter and parsley, stir and serve.