Pearl barley risotto with garlic and meatballs
Okay I’ll admit it, this isn’t strictly a risotto, but it’s the same kind of thing. The recipe comes from one of my favourite food writers, Yotam Ottolenghi, I just made a few tweaks as it suited what I had in the fridge/cupboard. This is a dish that has a strong taste of garlic, adjust the quantities if you’d like it a little milder.
- First up, fry up 5-6 crushed garlic cloves in olive oil until pungent, followed by a whole white onion.
- Once the garlic and onion are soft, throw in some meatballs until they have some colour on them (you may notice mine don’t have any colour in the photos, I added them directly the sauce since the idea of adding them was an afterthought). I used shop-bought beef meatballs (since they were on special offer ), you could use any kind of meat here, I imagine chicken meatballs would be lovely. Of course, if you would like to keep this dish vegetarian, and/or cheaper then omit the meatballs, the dish is substantial enough without.
- Add a tin of chopped tomatoes, a teaspoon of paprika, half a teaspoon dried chilli flakes, some thyme, a bay leaf, salt, a teaspoon of sugar, stock, a few cups of water, and finally, 250g of pearl barley.
- Let it simmer for an hour or so with a lid on, the pearl barley should be soft but have some bite to it.
Serve with grated cheese (I used cheddar), and whatever soft herb you have around (I used curly parsley).