• 220g pearl barley
  • 2-3 tbsp. rapeseed oil
  • 30g  breadcrumbs
  • 2 garlic cloves  crushed
  • 1/3 tsp. chilli flakes
  • 1   tbsp. parsley leaves, roughly chopped
  • 1-lemons, finely grate the zest, and 1 tbsp juice.
  • 1 litre chicken or vegetable stock
  • 1 onion, peeled and finely chopped
  • 1 tbsp. thyme leaves, roughly chopped
  •  75ml dry white wine
  • 200g baby spinach
  • 50g grated parmesan cheese
  • 1 tbsp. pesto sauce


  1. Heat two tablespoons of oil in a large pan and gently cook the onion for 5 minutes
  2. Add thyme, 1 clove garlic then stir in barley (and a good sprinkle of black pepper) and raise the heat.
  3. Add the wine, and cook until almost completely reduced – about 30 seconds- then ladle in 200ml of hot stock. Turn the heat down to medium and let the stock simmer gently (stir often).
  4. Continue to add stock until all is absorbed (about 45 minutes)
  5. Whilst barley is cooking … put remaining oil in a pan and shallow fry the breadcrumbs, then add remaining garlic, chilli, parsley and lemon zest and set aside.
  6. When barley is nearly ready, add spinach and continue to cook for 3-5 minutes.
  7. Add 2/3rds parmesan, lemon juice and pesto and mix well.
  8. Serve risotto topped with breadcrumb mix and remaining parmesan