It seems like ages since I posted something. I’ve been cooking – I just haven’t had the time to post the reviews!
Moving house and moving onto a boat all at the same time is a recipe for disaster. Especially challenging when you still have to go to work, and your new mooring is a very long way away from where you live. That said, only two weeks left and all these issues should be over!
Anyway – back to the cooking. This is another recipe from ‘The Modern Vegetarian’ by Maria Ella. I’ve made this before. I think in November last year and my memory of it made me want to make it again.
It’s not quite as spectacularly bright and colourful like the Spinach Pearl Barley Risotto I made some time ago – but it is as tasty.
One thing I noticed this time round is butternut squashes all look the same don’t they! But do they taste the same? To me, this risotto didn’t taste as ‘squashy’ as the one I made before. Maybe squashes aren’t really in season in May/June – and lack the taste of an autumn one.
One thing I’ve taken away from this recipe is ‘why use rice’. I’ve never found rice particularly fulfilling. You eat it – you get full – bloated in fact – you go do something and half an hour later you’re hungry again. Barley is a super substitute. It has three times the carbs, five times the protein, three times the calories and a whopping ten times the fibre. Basically you’ll get more energy from it – and you it’s better for you !
There are many steps to this recipe – and it seems very long winded – but it isn’t – and it is worth it.
To make this you peel a butternut squash, and put the peelings with some onions (peel and all), garlic, carrot and water in a big pan and boil it up to a stock.
Obviously you could cheat here and just use Bouillon or a vegetable stock – but for the effort, and the fact that you have the waste product anyway it seems silly not to. I think in hindsight here you could pep up your stock (if your squash isn’t that flavoursome) with something like that Knorr vegetable stock concentrate.
While that’s reducing down from something like 2 litres to 1 litre, you prep your squash. Dice and roast the end with the pulp with lots of olive oil. I did mine in a halogen oven (hence the round ring).
Next, fry off the other end of the squash in a pan. I messed this up last time I made it by not reading the recipe properly – I ended up roasting the whole squash. To be honest I don’t think it makes the blindest bit of difference. You fry the squash with shallots (I used some left over spring onions) and some spices.
Once you’ve done that – the prep is done.
From here on it’s all plain stirring. Fry the barley, some onion (I used red onions for added colour and the fried diced butternut squash and add some wine to get it going.
Once the wine is absorbed, gradually add your butternut squash stock – risotto style – ladle at a time until each ladle is absorbed. This took around 30 minutes for me.
Once the barley is to your liking (I like mine to have some bite) add the roasted squash (which you need to puree first) – and then some parmesan cheese (how much is up to you!).
I think this is a yummy, filling, wholesome dish which fills you up and leaves you full. I didn’t go overboard with the cheese – but you could if you wanted to – depends on how you like your risotto. I like mine to be a little sloppy and still have some of the liquid unabsorbed.
As I already said this dish is a little more labour intensive but it is worth it. Give it a go!