This Kale & Squash Pearl Barley Risotto is proper winter-warmer comfort food.... not refined restaurant-food by any stretch, but simple and hearty home-cooked grub that will fill you up and warm you through on a chilly evening. Be warned that pearl barley doubles in size during cooking, so what looks like a measly saucepan of ingredients becomes huge portions + leftovers for lunch in the blink of an eye.
Kale & Squash Pearl Barley Risotto
- 3 tbsp olive oil
- 1 onion peeled and finely chopped
- 2 cloves garlic peeled and crushed
- 600 g butternut squash peeled and chopped into 1cm chunks
- 250 g pearl barley
- 150 ml white wine
- 750 ml vegetable stock
- 100 g curly kale stalks removed
- salt & pepper
- 1 tbsp thyme leaves
- zest of 1 lemon
- handful pine nuts toasted in a dry frying pan for a minute or two
- Heat the olive oil in a large saucepan, and cook the onion and garlic for 5 minutes until softened. Add the butternut squash, and cook for a further 2 minutes.
- Add the pearl barley and white wine to the pan, turn up the heat and cook for 3 minutes until most of the wine has cooked away.
- Add the stock, bring to the boil then reduce to a simmer and cook for 25 minutes, stirring every few minutes. Season with salt and pepper.
- Add the curly kale, and cook for a further 5 minutes until the pearl barley is tender, but still a little chewy. Remove from the heat, stir through the thyme and lemon zest, then divide between bowls and scatter with the pine nuts to serve.