Perfect pumpkin and sundried tomato pearl barley risotto

This wintery dish is a treat for all lovers of seasonal, hearty food. Let all of the flavours and smells of winter fill your kitchen this evening with this delicious dinner.

Main courses
Some delicious pumpkin and pearl barley risotto in a bowl with a big chunky loaf of bread
  • Preparation time 15 minutes  (prep. time)
  • Cooking time 45 minutes (cooking time)
  • Serves 4


  • 1 tbsp olive oil or the oil from the sundried tomatoes
  • 1 red onion, finely chopped
  • 2 garlic cloves, finely chopped
  • 175g/6oz pearl barley
  • 1.2 litre/2 pints hot vegetable stock
  • 200g/7oz carrots diced
  • 350g/12oz butternut squash, deseeded, peeled and diced
  • 40g/1½ oz sundried tomatoes in oil, drained and sliced
  • 4 tbsp white wine
  • 1 tsp balsamic vinegar
  • 4 tbsp double cream
  • salt and fresh ground black pepper
  • 2 tbsp fresh chopped parsley
  • 40g/1½ oz parmesan, cheese peeled into shavings with a vegetable peeler


  1. Heat the oil in a large, deep frying pan, add the onion and garlic and fry over a medium heat for 5 minutes until softened.
  2. Add the pearl barley and stir well until coated in the oil. Add the carrots and one third of the stock. Bring to the boil then cover and simmer for 20 minutes, stirring occasionally and topping up with extra stock if needed.
  3. Add the squash, sundried tomatoes, white wine and tomato purée then mix in half the remaining stock. Bring back to the boil, cover and simmer for 20 minutes until the risotto is rich and thick and the pearl barley soft. Gradually top up with the remaining stock as needed to keep the barley moist and stir more frequently towards the end of cooking.
  4. Stir in the balsamic vinegar and cream, season to taste with salt and pepper then spoon into bowls. Sprinkle with the parsley and shaved parmesan. Serve with warm bread and butter, and just sit back and enjoy as the wintery day passes by.