Green Pearl Barley Risotto with roasted Artichoke

Based on barley, and made green with a herb sauce, rice works just as well and it also tastes nice without the herb sauce.


(as always, for 2)

For the vegetables

  • 4 slim, fresh Artichokes
    I personally prefer elongated, maybe even blue-purple-ish onese to the light green big globe artichokes for this, as the leaves of the latter are rather hard and you need to trim most of them away.
    Cut away bits of the stem that look dry, use a speed peeler to lightly peel the stem. Trim the artichoke leaves by ripping of the outer rough leaves. Cut off the spiky rough bits of the leaves, usually half or two thirds.
    Then using a knife and ‘turning’ the artichoke, slice away, from the outside the remaining rough parts of the leaves. What you want is light-green, tender bits near the heart of the artichoke and at the bottom of the leaves. Dependent on the variety of artichoke you may be able to eat more or less of the leaves.
    Quarter the artichokes and using a thin knife remove the ‘hay’ (hairy bit inside the artichoke and maybe some of the papery usually purplish thin inner leaves.
    To avoid them form going all brown, drop the Artichokes into a bowl with water and a bit of lemon juice (rubbing them with the remainder of a previously squeezed lemon works also well).
  • Two handfulls of large spinach
    In this case I would go for rougher, older leaves with more taste than baby spinach.
Vegetable prep

For the risotto

  • 1 clove garlic finely chopped
  • 2 shallots finely chopped
  • 2 cups pearl barley (or Arborio risotto rice)
  • 1/2 cup dry white wine (or if you don’t have white wine 1/8 cup white wine or cider vinegar)
  • 2 Tbsp dry Sherry
  • 1 litre hot water
  • 1 broth cube (or you use hot broth of course in which case you don’t need the hot water)
  • herb bunch made of dried chili, bay leaves, rosmary, sage and oregano (use clean string to tie them together)

Topping option 1

Topping option 2



1 Kick off the risotto
In big cast iron pot heat some oil and for 5–10 minutes lightly fry onions and garlic. Add barley or rice and herb bunch and keep on frying until translucent. Add sherry and wine / vinegar, deglaze, let it all evaporate. Careful to not make it too sour.

Then add either broth cube and a cup of water or broth, keep stirring. From now on, the more you stir the better the risotto will become. Keep on adding cups of water, let them cook in, add more water and so on.

Good risotto needs to stick once to the pan, i.e. at one point let the water evaporate totally and let the risotto at the bottom of the pan lightly stick and go golden. Don’t burn it!

Then add water and stir as before. This will take around 30 minutes or so.

The risotto is done when the barley or rice or done, i.e. are no longer flowery, but still have bit! Also, the risotto should have quite a bit of sauce nicely covering the grain. It’s a common mistake to make risotto to dry.

Also, it’s a dish that needs serving straight away, as otherwise the grain will soak all the liquid up.

While all this happens, prepare the rest in parallel:

2 Artichokes
Fry the artichokes in olive oil until golden brown. Add salt and put onto a kitchen paper aside.

3 Spinach
Wilt the spinach in a pan. To not burn it you can add a tiny bit of water or better just put a lid on.

4 Toppings
Whichever topping you choose, take the Almonds or breadcrumbs and fry in a bit of oil until golden. Add spices and in case of the almonds agave a tiny bit of agave syrup.

5 Plate it
As I mentioned before, risotto needs to be plated and eaten right away.
For this recipe take the risotto fo the head and add the green herb sauce to the risotto and very quickly mix.

Put the mix on a plate.

Top with spinach and artichokes.

Sprinkle with almonds or breadcrumbs.





This blog is my cooking notes. Some recipes are my own, others are variations of other chefs’, some posts are final working recipies, others trail and error in progress. All are vegetarian, most of them vegan…

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Marcel Britsch

Marcel Britsch

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