Rose Elliot’s Mediterranean Barley Risotto

I did mean to make this yesterday… but time sort of got away from me, and I was completing my Star Wars education by watching Return of the Jedi…. Yes, up until this last week (when I bought Mr M the complete saga on Bluray), I had never seen Star Wars….

This was a recipe that we found while flicking through my recipe books when my BFFs were down, planning to make it then, but it didn’t happen and I rediscovered the post-it-note-marked page just before we went food shopping….

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Mediterranean Barley Risotto Recipe – taken from Rose Elliot’s New Complete Vegetarian

Serves 4-6 (unless Mr M is around)

Ingredients

250g/ 9oz pearl barley

700ml/ 1 1/4 pints water

1 large red onion, cut into chunks

1 large courgette, cut into chunky pieces

1 large aubergine, cut into chunky pieces

2 red and 2 yellow peppers, deseeded and cut into chunks

8 garlic cloves, chopped

juice of 1/2 lemon (note: I also used the zest, and actually the whole lemon. I love lemon.)

3-4 tbsp olive oil (because nothing claiming to be meditteranean would be complete without olive oil)

salt and freshly ground black pepper

400g can plum tomatoes

Method

Set the oven to 180C/350F.

Put the barley and water in a saucepan and bring to the boil, cover, turn the heat down and leave to cook over a gentle heat for 40-50 minutes, or until all the water has been absorbed, and the barley is swollen and tender. Remove from the heat and leave to stand, covered, for another 5 minutes.

Meanwhile, place the vegetables and garlic in a roasting tin. Sprinkle with the lemon juice, oil, and some salt and pepper, and mix until they are all coated in the mixture.

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Roast for 20 minutes, stirring after 10, then add the tomatoes and cook for a further 15-20 minutes, or until the vegetables are tender. Season with more salt and pepper if necessary.

Stir the barley with a fork, and add salt and pepper to taste, then mix with the vegetables.

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Voila! Tasty tasty! Also, fairly importantly, super easy! I may remind Mr M of dishes like this whenever he complains that I have too many recipe books. If I did not have such a wide, varied, and fabulous collection… then we would eat only pasta, pasta, and more pasta, which is what I generally used to cook all the time!

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