Pearl Barley Risotto (orzotto) With Sauteed Mushrooms

Total Time
1hr 15mins
Prep 30 mins
Cook 45 mins

If you want to try something a bit different, this is it! Don't worry if you think the portions look small; pearl-barley is very filling and the mushrooms are full of flavour. In other words, a little goes a long way. The original recipe came from supplement to a Sainsburys magazine, called 'The Best of Italy'. I've been hoarding it for two years and am really pleased I finally got round to making something from it (so many recipes; so little time)! Needless to say, I have made a few tweaks to the original recipe, which called for 1tbsp each of celery and carrot (how much is that?), so I added my own amounts. Other tweaks include less oil, different mushrooms, more garlic and lets add some cheese!

Ingredients Nutrition


  1. Place the dried porcini in a bowl and cover with 200ml of warm water, leave to soak for 30 minutes (you can use this time to prepare the other vegetables).
  2. Now start the orzotto: in a large saucepan, gently saute the onion in the olive oil until golden, then add the carrot, celery and pearl barley, turn up the heat and cook on a medium to high heat for 2 minutes.
  3. Add the wine and let it evaporate, then turn down the heat again to a low to medium temperature; add the stock a ladleful at a time, ensuring that the liquid is absorbed before adding the next ladleful of stock: this will take about 40 minutes and the pearl barley should be tender but with a bite.
  4. When the orzotto has been cooking for about 25 minutes, drain the porcini (save the liquid for other recipes) and start cooking the sauteed mushrooms: in a large lidded pan melt the butter and olive oil together and gently saute the onion and garlic until soft, stir in seasoning, add the mushrooms, porcini and parsley and cover and cook on a medium heat for 5 minutes.
  5. Remove the lid, turn up the heat and cook for about another 5 minutes, stirring the mushrooms, until most of the juices have evaporated.
  6. To serve: spoon the orzotto into a large round dish, pushing it towards the sides; spoon the mushroom mixture into the space left in the middle of the dish, sprinkle the mushrooms with parsley and pecorino cheese.


Most Helpful

Oh so very delicious! I've never cooked any barley before, although I've wanted to for some time... My husband and I both thought it was absolutely wonderful, I know I'll be making this quite often! I also added a ladle full of the mushroom liquid (from re-hydrating them) for an extra mushroom flavour boost. Thanks so much for posting this fabulous recipe :)

Firewife16 February 11, 2010

This is fabulous!!! I loved this!!!The only changes that I made was to chop the celery and carrots, I used baby bellas and I sprinkled with fresh parmesan cheese. I also used chicken broth as I didnt have vegetable broth. I covered the orzotto toward the end of cooking cause some of my barley was still a bit hard and it worked great!! My 6 year old is on his 2nd bowl as I type!!! Thanks for posting!!! This will be made again!!!

kzbhansen August 08, 2006

A really enjoyable, hearty meal, and very straightforward to make. Its the first time I'd used pearl barley and I loved the satisfying, texture of the big, plump grains; as a small adaptation to my taste, I think I'll stir in some parmesan into the rizotto next time to boost the savouriness a little.

BellaXenia January 10, 2006

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