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Pearl barley, goat’s cheese and butternut squash risotto

By using pearl barley instead of rice, you can give your risotto a deliciously nutty edge. Chop up the butternut squash in nice big chunks and enjoy the tinge of garlic that gives this dish it’s flavour; with a texture that will leave you wanting more.

Serves 4 Total Time 40 mins


  • 1 butternut squash 
  • 2 garlic cloves, peeled and crushed 
  • 5 tbsp olive oil  
  • 1 onion, 1 carrot, peeled and 1 celery stick, all finely chopped 
  • 3 bay leaves 
  • 8 sage leaves, chopped (extra to serve) 
  • 250g pearl barley
  • 1L chicken or veg stock 
  • 250g goat’s cheese


  1. Preheat oven to 180°C/160°C fan/Gas Mark 4. 
  2. Peel and chop the butternut squash into chunks, place on an oven tray with the garlic. Drizzle 2 tbsp olive oil, season and mix well. Cook in the oven for 25–30 mins. 
  3. Start the risotto while the squash  is cooking; sauté the onion, carrot, celery, bay and sage leaves in the remaining 3 tbsp olive oil for 5 mins, until soft. 
  4. Add the pearl barley and cook for 1 min. Pour in a splash of stock and set to simmer.
  5. When it’s nearly absorbed, add a little more and repeat until the stock is used up, or the pearl barley is soft and swollen (about 25–30 mins). 
  6. Retrieve the squash and stir into the risotto. Season to taste and serve in bowls, scattering over the goat’s cheese and a little olive oil.
  7. Fry the extra sage in olive oil for 1 min and place on top of each bowl.
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