The foodie media is full of post-Halloween ideas for pumpkin and squash. While it was tempting to feature a sweet treat (google “Tom Hunt’s pumpkin doughnut muffins”), we’ve gone for a wholesome savoury dish by Diana Henry using nutritious barley. This would be great with a side-dish of kale or cavolo nero stir-fried or roasted until a bit crispy.
Pumpkin and chestnut barley risotto
- 3 tbsp olive oil
- 800g chopped pumpkin or squash
- 1 small onion, finely chopped
- 2 garlic cloves, chopped
- 1 celery stick, chopped
- 300g pearl barley
- 1 litre veg or chicken stock
- 75g cooked, halved chestnuts
- 1 tbsp chopped sage leaves (or more to taste)
- Grated parmesan cheese
- Heat 2 tbsp olive oil in a pan and sauté the squash chunks (in two batches if necessary) until caramelised in patches. Remove squash and set aside.
- Add another tbsp of oil to the pan and sauté the onion, garlic and celery until pale gold.
- Add the barley and stir to coat in the juices. Then add the stock, a ladleful at a time. (You don’t have to stir continually as with a proper rice risotto – only from time to time. In 30 minutes, it will soften and become creamy.)
- At about the 15-minute mark, return the squash to the pan and mix in and continue cooking.
- Five minutes before the end, add the chestnuts.
- Add the chopped sage, check the seasoning and serve with grated parmesan cheese.