orzotto al vino rosso e funghi
Barley risotto, also known as ‘barlotto’, is one of my friend Nick Nairn’s specialities. He loves to make this in autumn after mushroom-hunting near his cooking school on the Lake of Menteith in Scotland. I have always loved the chewy nuttiness of this recipe, which is made without the slow addition of stock. To make serving this dish easier, Nick suggests making it in advance and reheating it – something it does well, because unlike rice, barley doesn’t go soggy with keeping.
You Will Need
Heat the oil in a large saucepan, then add the barley and stir until it starts to turn golden (not brown) – this will take about 5 minutes. Add the onion and garlic and continue frying for 5–10 minutes, until the barley starts to brown. Don't let it burn, but you want a good, toasted flavour.
Add the stock, soy sauce, red wine, salt and pepper. Bring to the boil, turn down the heat, part-cover with a lid, then simmer gently until nearly all the liquid has been absorbed – this should take at least 30 minutes. The beauty of this one is that you don’t need to stir it constantly.
Meanwhile, brush or scrape the mushrooms clean (slicing any bigger ones to size) and heat a frying pan until hot. Add two-thirds of the butter and all the mushrooms. Stir-fry over medium heat for 4–5 minutes, until lightly browned. Season with salt and pepper. Add the stir-fried mushrooms to the barley and mix gently. Remove from the heat and cover with kitchen foil with a few holes pierced in it to let the barley swell and absorb all the liquid. Leave it in a warm place for 15 minutes. (At this stage, you could let it cool, reheating it for serving up to 24 hours later.)
To serve, put the barley risotto pan back on the heat and beat in the parsley, tarragon and the remaining butter. Stir well until hot, add salt and pepper to taste and pile onto heated plates. Serve immediately.