Roasted vegetable orzotti

Barley is often overlooked in modern cooking, but has been grown in Britain for longer than records exist and is only outstripped by wheat in terms of UK cereal production. The Italian orzotti (or barley risotto) is the inspiration for this dish with the barley grains retaining a lovely nutty texture on cooking.

The goats cheese adds the ooze that you don’t get so much with the barley grain, aswell as being a great flavour combination with the sweet roasted vegetables.

Recipe- serves 2

  • 1 aubergine
  • 1 yellow pepper
  • 1 red pepper
  • 8 cherry tomatoes
  • ½ red onion
  • small bunch thyme, leaves chopped
  • 1tbs cider vinegar
  • 1 garlic clove, crushed
  • 1 bay leaf
  • Small bunch of parsley chopped
  • 150g pearled barley
  • 550ml stock (1 cube)
  • 100g soft goats cheese
  1. Preheat the oven to 200°c
  2. Peel and chop the vegetables into 2cm pieces, toss in 2 tbs of olive oil, the thyme and salt and pepper and lay on a baking sheet.
  3. Roast the vegetables for 25-30 minutes until soft and with a little colour.
  4. Meanwhile make up the stock in a pan adding the bay leaf and keep on a low simmer.
  5. Fry your onion and crushed garlic in a separate pan in some butter or olive oil for 5 minutes until the onion looks translucent.
  6. Add the barley grains and continue to stir for 2-3 minutes to coat in the garlicky butter and warm the grains
  7. Add a ladleful of stock and the vinegar stirring until no more liquid can be seen then add the stock a ladleful at a time stirring often until the stock is absorbed.
  8. It should take about 25 minutes to cook the barley, it should have a bit of firmness to it but not be crunchy at all. If you run out of liquid before this you can add a splash more boiling water to the orzotti after you have finished adding the stock.
  9. Add most of the vegetables and roughly chopped cheese stirring through to melt, reserving a little of each to arrange on the top when you serve along with the chopped parsley.