Autumn has arrived and with it some special and very appreciated ingredients have returned to the kitchen: mushrooms and pumpkin, a vegetable that will comfort us during the cold season, making the wait for next spring sweeter.
This barley risotto with pumpkin and black poplar mushrooms is born with this intention: warm the heart through the pleasure of the palate, while its yellow-orange color will bring a little sun on our table.
Some tricks before directions
Just to know it, in Italian the correct name of barley risotto is “orzotto” (orzo = barley).
For having success with this dish is essential to choose the right pumpkin, sweet and with a compact pulp, dry and non-filamentous, I prefer the Mantua type pumpkin or the delica one.
In this recipe I used pumpkin as a cream in order to obtain a soft and velvety orzotto, but if you like the idea of double consistency you can keep aside a piece of pumpkin and add it into cubes about 10 minutes before the end of barley cooking.
The pearl barley is processed and deprived of the outer part of the grain, so it cooks faster than whole or peeled one and does not need to be soaked, but it must be rinsed to remove any impurities.
To rinse your pearl barley, proceed as follows: place it in a bowl, fill it with cold flowing water, stir it with your fingers for a few seconds and throw out the water that has become a little cloudy and replace it with other clean water.
Repeat this operation 3 or 4 times then pour the barley into a colander, rinse it under flowing water and let it drain until ready to cook.
Barley risotto with pumpkin and mushrooms recipe
Calories: 460 kcal
- 600 gr of pumpkin (already clean)
- 300 gr of black poplar mushrooms (velvet pioppini)
- 280 gr of pearl barley
- 40 ml of white wine
- 7 tablespoons of extra virgin olive oil
- 2 teaspoons of chopped red onion
- A garlic clove
- Salt and Pepper To Taste
- Vegetable broth as required
Chop your pumpkin into small pieces, transfer it into a pan with a tablespoon of extra virgin olive oil and let it simmer over a low heat, covering it with a lid, every now and then stir it and add one or two tablespoons of vegetable broth to keep it moist.
Cook the pumpkin until it gets soft and you can cut it easily with a fork, then blend it to get a smooth cream and season with salt.
Clean your velvet pioppini: cut off the final part of the stems separating the mushrooms, fill the sink with cold flowing water and immerse the black poplar mushrooms.
Rinse them and then replace the dirty water with clean water, repeat this operation until your velvet pioppini seem to be clean and without residual earth, then collect and distribute them on a clean dishcloth, gently dry them by just dabbing with another dishcloth.
In a large pan, put three tablespoons of extra virgin olive oil with a garlic clove, light the flame and when the oil begins to make little bubbles add the black poplar mushrooms.
Cook velvet pioppini on high heat for 3 minutes, then low the heat, cover with a lid and proceed with cooking for another 5 minutes (if it is necessary moisten with a little vegetable stock or water), adjust with salt.
In a large pan, gently sweat the red onion with three tablespoons of extra virgin olive oil, then add the previously rinsed pearl barley, raise the heat and toast it for about two minutes, stirring.
When finished toasting, pour the white wine and let it evaporate, then low the heat and add about an half of the pumpkin cream.
Cook your barley risotto adding the boiling vegetable broth (as making a classic risotto) every now and then.
When cooked, add the remaining pumpkin cream and season with salt.
Distribute your barley in the dishes and place the mushrooms in the center.
Before serving the barley risotto with pumpkin and black poplar mushrooms, sprinkle it with chopped parsley and freshly ground black pepper.
This post was created in collaboration with Fondamentali & Quali.