Roasted Mushroom Pearl Barley Risotto (Serves 4)

Prep Time:10 mins, Cook Time: 1 Hour, Total Time: 1 Hr + 10 Mins

April 26, 2013

Roasted Mushroom Pearl Barley Risotto CollagePearl barley risottos seem all the rage of late and it was really about time I got around to trying my hand at one. I had fully intended on making Anneli’s (of the fabulously inspiring Delicieux blog) Marvelous Mussel Puttanesca Pearl Barley Risotto and even bought the mussels especially in for the very recipe. But somehow after a couple of glasses of vino they got used in making an impromptu Moules Frites supper one night instead. Oops, sorry Anneli, but rest assured I will be trying your delightfully interesting recipe very soon!. Moules-less but still determined to give a pearl barley risotto a crack and happening to have an abundance of mushrooms begging to be used I opted for my favourite Roasted Mushroom Risotto instead, just replacing the rice with barley.

I actually made this for my Mum and Dad as I was with them in the UK at the time, helping out whilst my Mum recuperated from a nasty dose of pneumonia. Luckily she’s now firmly on the mend. Both parents gave the risotto the thumbs up, and there’s even an extra couple of portions waiting to be re-heated in their freezer (along with a whole host of fish pies, stews and soups I made for them whilst I was there!).

On the whole I was pretty pleased with the barley risotto. An interestingly nutty texture and taste which I actually really liked, but on the down side it didn’t half take a long time to cook! Nigh on an hour, probably at least double the time of the rice version, which seemed a little on the lengthy side. But with a glass in hand (it seemed wrong not to finish the purposefully-opened-for-the-risotto bottle of white) I was quite happy to potter around the kitchen whilst it bubbled away.

Whilst I made this the first time for my Mum and Dad I’ve since made it for my littlies at home, though omitted the mushrooms (they really REALLY don’t like them!) and replaced them with red pepper and cherry tomatoes which are more up their texture street.

You may recall my earlier obsessions with the aforementioned Roasted Mushrooms, namely my Roasted Wild Mushroom Pizza or the Stilton, Parsley & Walnut Pesto Spaghetti with Roasted Thyme & Garlic Mushrooms. And I’m still obsessed. Love them. Can’t bring myself to cook a mushroom any other way. And they’re amazing in a risotto, especially paired with a little lemon, Parmesan and plenty of parsley. If you don’t fancy whiling away an hour feel free to substitute with arborio risotto rice instead. Or a top tip I gleamed on Twitter was to soak the barley for an hour beforehand in boiling water.

As Thyme and Parsley are key flavours in my risotto I shall be entering this post to the lovely Karen of Lavender and Lovage‘s Herbs on Saturday challenge. And as there’s Grana Padano to the One Ingredient Challenge which has the theme of Cheese this month, an event co-hosted by Laura of How to Cook Good Food and this month by Nazima of Franglais Kitchen. And finally since pearl barley is considerably cheaper than risotto rice this makes the dish a pretty frugal munch and a deservant recipe to enter to Credit Crunch Munch, a monthly challenge held jointly by Helen of Fuss Free Flavours and this month hosted by Camilla of Fab Food 4 All.





The Good Stuff:

Pearl Barley, Mushrooms, Garlic, Parsley, Thyme, Lemon

Great For:

Bigger Kids, Grown Ups, Family Suppers, Mid-Week or Week-end Slowies, Vegetarians, Wild Mushroom Foragers, Roasted Mushrooms Obsessives


Replace the mushrooms with your favourite risotto flavourings if you or your littlies are adverse!

Special Equipment:

a large heavy based saucepan, a roasting tray for the mushrooms

Roasted Mushroom Pearl Barley Risotto (Serves 4)

Ingredients Prep Time:10 mins, Cook Time: 1 Hour, Total Time: 1 Hr + 10 Mins

For the Risotto:

2 tablespoons of Olive Oil

2 medium or 4 small Shallots, finely diced

a clove of Garlic, finely sliced

a stick of Celery, finely diced

280g of Pearl Barley (or Risotto Rice if you prefer)

200ml of White Wine

1.5 litres of weak hot Veggie or Chicken Stock (about a litre if using Risotto Rice)

a heaped tablespoon of Creme Fraiche (half or full fat)

a small bunch of Parsley, or 3 – 4 tablespoons, chopped

80g of Grana Padano, finely grated

a squeeze or two of Lemon Juice, to taste

Salt & Pepper

For the Roasted Mushrooms:

600g of Mushrooms, as interesting/wild as you can find – but Chestnut would be fine

4 cloves of Garlic, skin intact

a few sprigs of Thyme, leaves removed

Salt & Pepper

3 tablespoons of Olive Oil

1) Heat the olive oil in a large heavy based saucepan on a gentle heat. Add the shallots, garlic and celery and saute for 5 minutes, stirring regularly.

2) Stir in the barley or rice ensuring the grains get a good coating of the oil. Pour in the wine and stir. Allow to simmer away on a gentle heat. Once most of the wine’s evaporated pour on a ladleful or two of hot stock. Continue to stir at regular intervals adding further ladlefuls of hot stock every time the last one is nearly all absorbed.

3) Meanwhile prep the mushrooms. Pre-heat your oven to 200°C. If you’re using smaller or button mushrooms leave them whole. Tear or chop larger mushrooms into two or four. Place on a baking tray with the garlic, thyme and a generous pinch of salt and pepper. Drizzle over the olive oil and using your hands ensure the mushrooms are evenly coated. Spread out over the tray and place in your pre-heated oven. Bake for 25 minutes, turning once or twice during the cooking time.

4) When the barley or rice is tender (which could take up to an hour!), stir in half the roasted mushrooms, the creme fraiche, parsley, cheese and a generous squeeze of lemon juice. Squeeze out the flesh from the roasted garlic and stir into the rice too. Cover and leave the risotto to stand for a few minutes whilst the flavours mingle. Taste and season with black pepper and more lemon juice to suit. You probably won’t need any additional salt as there’s plenty in the stock and cheese.

5) Serve topped with the rest of the mushrooms. Enjoy!.

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0 thoughts on “Roasted Mushroom Pearl Barley Risotto (Serves 4)

  1. annelifaiers

    Hahaha!!! Never mind about doing my recipe…yours looks great! And who can resist moules frites??? Certainly not me. I agree barley risotto takes a long time to cook but on the plus side, it doesn’t require the attention that arborio rice needs with the stirring and slow addition of stock… So, it sort of wins for me on that score. Also, love your photos. And thanks for the BiB vote. xxx

      1. Chez Foti

        Oh I’ve just had to google ‘Barlotto’, and indeed it seems to be an accepted and well used American term for a risotto made with Barley! Love it. Might even have to use it myself!

    1. Chez Foti

      I actually made this the ordinary risotto rice way of slowly adding stock by the ladleful. Then went on to read that you can happily add it all at once with a pearl barley risotto! Oops. Might even try an oven baked version next time?

  2. Sarah

    Great timing with your recipe… the mushroom-hating daughter is out at a party tomorrow evening – so it’s going to be roasted mushroom risotto for our tea!

  3. The Healthy Epicurean

    You’re right – barley is the new black. I keep seeing recipes for it… Where do you buy it? I looked for some the other day and couldn’t find any 🙁 Anyway, this looks delicious and I love making risotto – I find it really therapeutic to stand there just stirring – sort of like kitchen meditation 😉

    1. Chez Foti

      Well you can have one long super-calming meditation session making this risotto! Highly therapeutic, especially with an opened bottle of vin blanc to hand. Unless you have an English shop or supplier I doubt you’d find pearl barley France, or could order over the internet?. I always smuggle it in from the UK!

  4. andreamynard

    Another yummy recipe I’m very keen to try! I cooked your pesto pasta with roast mushrooms, by the way, and we’re now hooked on roasting them too – it does something wonderful with the flavour doesn’t it.

  5. underthebluegumtree

    Mmm, lovely. Another ‘barlotto’ for me to make as I have Anneli’s beautiful recipe bookmarked too. I love your mushroom version, especially the way you have piled some of the mushrooms on top. Divine!

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  7. Camilla

    Oh this looks so divine, I really have to start cooking with Pearl Barley which I’ve only ever used in soup! Thank you for entering Credit Crunch Munch:-)

    1. Chez Foti

      It’s a fabulous ingredient, and fabulously cheap! I often add it to soups and stews, but am very impressed with the risotto. Shall be experimenting with different risottos now!

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  10. Franglais kitchen, Nazima

    I love pearl barley. There is an Indian stew that my mother makes with Pearl barley in it and it gives a real comfort food texture. I can imagine then that this ‘barlotto’ would be perfect for me as risotto is another one of my favourites. Perhaps one for one of those rainy / windy spring days such as we have been getting today!



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