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Barley Risotto with Marinated Feta

  • Author: Yotam Ottolenghi


  • 1 cup pearl barley
  • 2 Tbsp unsalted butter (I used Earth Balance)
  • 6 Tbsp olive oil (separated)
  • 2 small celery stalks, cut into 1/4-inch dice
  • 2 small shallots, cut into 1/4-inch dice
  • 4 cloves garlic, minced
  • 4 thyme sprigs
  • 1/2 tsp smoked paprika
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 4 strips lemon peel
  • 1/4 tsp chile flakes
  • one 14 oz can chopped tomatoes
  • scant 3 cups vegetable stock
  • 1 1/4 cups tomato sauce (passata) (pureed crushed tomatoes)
  • 1 Tbsp caraway seeds
  • Feta cheese broken into roughly 3/4-inch pieces
  • 1 Tbsp fresh oregano leaves
  • salt and black pepper to taste


  1. Rinse the pearl barley well under cold water and leave to drain.
  2. Melt the butter and 2 tablespoons of the olive oil in a very large frying pan and cook the celery, shallots, and garlic over gentle heat for 5 minutes until soft. Add the barley, thyme, paprika, bay leaf, lemon peel, chile flakes, tomatoes, stock, passata, and salt. Stir to combine. Bring the mixture to a boil, then reduce to a very gentle simmer and cook for 45 minutes, stirring frequently to make sure the risotto does not catch on the bottom of the pan. When ready, the barley should be tender and most of the liquid absorbed.
  3. Meanwhile, toast the caraway seeds in a dry pan for a couple of minutes. Then lightly crush them so that some whole seeds remain. Add them to the feta with the remaining 4 tablespoons olive oil and gently mix to combine.
  4. Once the risotto is ready, check the seasoning and then divide it among four shallow bowls. Top each with the marinated feta, including the oil, and a sprinkling of oregano leaves.


  • Not included in Large Real Food Boxes: Oilve Oil, Salt & Pepper, Smoked Paprika, Bay Leaf, Chile Flakes, Vegetable Stock, Caraway Seeds, Oregano Leaves, Butter (included in 3-5 person box)