A delicious whisky risotto with roasted squash

(Photo: Jacqui Walker)

Whisky Barley Risotto with Roasted Cinnamon Squash and Toasted Pumpkin Seeds (Serves 4)

Ingredients Instructions
  • 400g pearl barley
  • 1 onion
  • 2 garlic cloves
  • 1 roasting winter squash of your choice (kabocha, butternut, turban, delica)
  • 1 tablespoon cinnamon
  • 2 tablespoons honey
  • 6 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 tsp chilli flakes
  • 50ml BenRiach Curiositas 10
  • 1ltr veg stock
  • Handful of chopped parsley
  • 70g veggie Parmesan
  • Salt
  • Pepper
  • Heat the oven to 180C/350F.
  • Cut the squash in half and remove seeds. Cut the squash into wedges (or half moons) leaving the skin on, then toss in 2 tabl
  • Line a baking tray with parchment, add the squash and roast for 20 mins or until the squash is soft and taking on a rich colour. Remove from the oven and set aside.
  • Fry the pumpkin seeds in frying pan with 2 tablespoons of the olive oil, remove from heat when they start to pop and add a good crunch of Maldon Salt.
  • For the pearl barley risotto, finely dice an onion and gently fry in 2 tablespoons of olive oil until translucent. Once translucent, add grated garlic clove and cook for further 3 mins.
  • Rinse the pearl barley and add to fried onion. Dry fry the risotto and onion until the all the moisture has evaporated and the barley sounds like it is starting to pop.
  • Prepare the vegetable stock and add the whisky to the stock. Start adding the stock to the barley in stages, about half a cup at a time. Let the stock soak into the barley and then whisk through with a wooden spoon. Your aim is to develop the gluten, which you’ll see as a creamy liquid starting to appear.
  • Keep on cooking the risotto this way (around 15 mins) until you feel the barley has lost the hardness in the grain but still has a good chew. Mouthfeel is largely personal as some prefer more nuttiness than less, so you can be judge of what you prefer but the sweet spot is generally cooked but with a bit of chew.
  • Once at desired texture, take the pan off the heat and add the parmesan and whisk firmly to mix through.
  • To serve spoon the risotto into a serving bowl, arrange half moons of squash on top and sprinkle over the pumpkin seeds. Garnish with parsley and serve.