Saturday 7 February 2009

Orzotto con Zucca (Pumkin and Barley Risotto)

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The cold weather continues, so does the need for comfort (food).


Orzotto is a risotto made with barley instead of rice, it is also a lot easier as there is no need for constant watching, stirring and adding stock. It all just goes in at once and then cooks until done, with only the occassional peek and stir. Zucca is Italian for pumpkin, but I usually use butternut squash at it is more widely available. You don't even need to peel it, just clean it and remove the seeds cook it and eat it, skin and all. If you need meat with your meal to be fully satisfied, just add some shreeded chicken or beef at the end. It's also good with added mushrooms.

My friend J. made a similar and delicious recipe from the Nigella Christmas Cookbook when she invited me round a few weeks ago. Nigellas version is very rich, due to having loads of mascarpone cheese added. This one is far more low-fat, with only some parmesan stirred in at the end. One thing I really did like about Nigella's recipe though (don't get me wrong it was all good, but just a little too rich for everyday use), is that she keeps some of the butternut squash in chunks, rather than pureeing all of it. So, that's what I did this time round, I just kept some of the roasted butternut squash aside, and pureed the rest. However, below you find the original recipe by Matthew Fort, as I found it Guardian Weekend magazine quite a few years ago, without the chunks.


I just realised, whilst uploading the pictures, that I have been eating a lot of orange food lately. I better go and make something a little more colourful next.

Orzotto con Zucca (serves 2-3 as a main or 4 as a side)

140 g barley
2 liters vegetable stock or chicken stock or game stock
600 g pumpkin or butternut squash, cut into chunks
30 g butter
30 g grated parmesan cheese
salt, to taste
fresh ground black pepper, to taste

In a large pan bring the stock to a boil, add the barley and simmer until done. It should take about 40 minutes. Drain.

If you want you can add some chopped mushrooms to this for the last 5-10 minutes.

Microwave, boil or roast the pumpkin until soft. (Roasting is my favourite method.)

Put the cooked pumpkin and the butter into a blender and puree.

Season to taste with salt and pepper.

Add the puree to the barley and season again with salt and pepper.

Just before serving mix the parmesan into the 'risotto'.

Serve hot with fresh crusty bread.



Jan said...

That looks good and I love barley!

Chanita Harel חני הראל said...

Your Blog looks great , I've read almost everything..thank you :)
Chanit from Israel.

Anonymous said...

Ooooh - there's something so warming about barley, isn't there? This sounds delicious - and what a cute dish!

Gloria Baker said...

Look really nice dear Sylvie! xGloria

pigpigscorner said...

Using barley in this is new to me! Sounds really healthy and delicious. Will definitely give it a go!

Sam said...

I've been meaning to try an orzotto for a while now, I love barley and this looks really tasty.

jesse said...

That is beautiful... and you're right, it's so perfect for winter. Mmm!

Peter M said...

The key to this dish is quality orzo and timing it right with the both - I'm in!

Valerie Harrison (bellini) said...

THis sounds like a very tasty and wholesome dish Sylvie. I love this combination with risotto so will have to try this:D

Anne said...

I love barley and this looks great :)

test it comm said...

I tried a barley risotto a while ago and enjoyed it. I really like using the sweet squash/pumpkin in sheesy risottos! What a great combo!