Squash and bacon orzotti

Butternut squash

Barley has been grown in the UK for centuries, but is seldom used in modern cooking. In the interest of keeping things local we have used the italian orzotti (or barley risotto) is the inspiration for this dish and you could substitute risotto rice if you liked, reducing the cooking time by a few minutes.

Recipe serves 2 people

  • 120g streaky bacon
  • 1 butternut squash
  • 1tbs cider vinegar
  • 6 sage leaves
  •  ½ onion
  • 1 garlic clove
  • 150g pearled barley
  • 550ml stock (1 cube)
  • 40g hard goats cheese grated
  1. Preheat the oven and your baking sheet to 200°c
  2. Peel and chop the squash into 2cm pieces, (putting the peel into a pan) and toss the flesh in 1tbs of olive oil and lay on your warmed baking sheet. Season and put in the hot oven.
  3. Meanwhile make up the stock in the pan with your peelings and add  two sage leaves and bring to a low simmer
  4. After 10 minutes pull the tray from the oven, tear up 4 of the sage leaves,  tucking between the squash pieces and drape the all but 2 of the bacon slices over the top and place back in the oven.
  5. Chop the last two pieces of bacon finely, while you fry your onion and crushed garlic in a separate pan in some butter or olive oil for a couple of minutes until the onion looks translucent. Add the bacon and cook for another 2 minutes
  6. Add the spelt grains to 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. When the bacon is crispy (after 15 mins or so) remove and set aside. The squash may be cooked aswell but check if it is soft and leave in for a few minutes if not.
  9. It should take about 25 minutes to cook the spelt, 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 spelt after you have finished adding the stock (but don’t dilute your stock)
  10. Stir in most of the squash and cheese, reserving a little of each to arrange on the top with the torn up crispy bacon.


Box Local – the local produce delivery service for St Albans. Bringing the farm shop to your door