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Pearl barley risotto with mushrooms, leeks and garlic


One of the winners of our 100th Issue recipe competition, interpretation officer Emma Booth (far left) impressed the Stylist panel with this alternative risotto, which makes a delightful main course.

Preparation time

10 minutes

Cooking time

45 minutes

Ingredients (serves 2)

  • 2 whole heads of garlic, cloves separated, skin on
  • 4 tbsps extra virgin olive oil
  • 150g mixed mushrooms (enoki, shiitake, chanterelles or porcini), sliced
  • 11/2 leeks finely chopped
  • 200g pearl barley, rinsed
  • 1 tsp picked fresh thyme, finely chopped
  • 600ml vegetable stock
  • 200ml boiling water
  • 15g butter
  • 25g Parmesan, grated
  • 2 tbsps mascarpone
  • Black pepper
  • Micro leaf garlic chives to garnish


Step 1: Cover the garlic cloves in a tablespoon of the olive oil and place in a shallow ovenproof dish. Bake for 25 minutes at 190˚C/gas 5, then leave to cool. Peel each clove and roughly chop.

Step 2: Using two tablespoons of oil, fry the mushrooms until golden, set aside.

Step 3: Using the same pan, heat the butter and the last of the oil and fry the leeks over a medium heat until soft and translucent. Add the pearl barley, thyme, cooked garlic, stock and water, and simmer for 20-30 minutes, until the barley is soft but still has a little bite in the centre. Add water if needed. Once cooked, stir in the mushrooms, Parmesan and mascarpone, season with black pepper and garnish with the garlic chives.



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