Sun-dried tomato barley risotto with marinated feta

So apparently my boyfriend loves caraway seeds. How did I not know this after 9 years together? So when I presented this dish for dinner he was a little bit in heaven. I followed a recipe from my beloved book Jerusalem, which features a barley risotto cooked in a luxuriously rich tomato sauce spiked with – unusually, I thought -smoked paprika, lemon rind, chilli, bay and thyme and a marinated feta topping. The feta is tossed with toasted caraway seeds, those distinctive love-em-or-hate-em little fellows. I made a few substitutions along the way, and added sundried tomatoes, because it just felt right and I had a rather sad looking jar tucked towards the rear of the fridge that was begging to be used. They added a new texture but the flavours married particularly well.

Below is my tweaked recipe – for the original, consult your own copy of Jerusalem. And if you don’t have one, get one! (Best money you’ll ever spend).

Serves 4

You will need:

30g butter
1 onion, diced
2 small celery sticks, diced
3 garlic cloves, crushed
250g pearl barley
500g passata
Approx 700ml veg or chicken stock
Few sprigs of fresh thyme
2 bay leaves
Small handful of fresh sage
1/2 Tspn smoked paprika
1/2 Tspn crushed chillis
About 10 sun dried tomatoes
3 segments of lemon rind (about 1/4 a lemon’s worth)
200g feta
2 Tspn caraway seeds
Olive oil


1 – Heat the butter in a large frying pan with a little oil
2 – Add the celery, onions and garlic and cook gently until softened
3 – Tip in the barley, thyme, bay, sage, paprika, chilli and a Tspn or so of salt and stir
4 – Now stir in the passata and as much stock as will fit (add the rest gradually as needed as the liquid reduces)
5 – Bring to the boil and then lower the heat and simmer gently for around 45-60minutes depending on the ferocity of your hob until the barley is cooked with a little bite
6 – In the meantime make the feta; toast the caraway seeds for a minute until fragrant and lightly crush
7 – Combine the caraway seeds with the feta and pour in a few tablespoons of olive oil to coat
8 – Serve the barley topped with the feta



15 thoughts on “Sun-dried tomato barley risotto with marinated feta

    1. Thanks Grace! It was great actually, and as a bonus for me at the moment, pretty healthy. Not like regular risotto. You must get the book! It’s my food bible, the only cookbook I have ever cooked more than a couple of recipes from!

  1. I have made and LOVED this dish, but my boyfriend doesn’t like feta too much, so it wasn’t a great success with him… oh well. And I agree, Jerusalem was the best money I ever spent, I have made so many recipes from it!

    1. Oh no ! Its a tough cheese to find a suitable replacement for I think. Other soft cheeses are often either too mild, too blue or too rich.
      I never used to like feta until a few months ago, but can’t get enough of it now !
      Glad you agree with me re. Jerusalem. Maybe Ottolenghi will start paying me to promote his work, ha! X

  2. This looks like a totally delicious and fall perfect dinner as well as being healthy! Love caraway but don’t find a reason to use it often. Bet it goes sooo well with the feta. Have a couple of Ottolenghi books but for some bizarre reason not Jerusalem. May need to invest! Will defo be trying this one

    1. Ah thanks! It was a great, surprising combination actually. I also find it hard to know what to put it with. Which books do you have? I don’t have any others and also need to invest!

      1. Ottolenghi: the cookbook and Plenty! Both good, just need Jerusalem to complete the collection! Off to his new restaurant next month as well, officially cannot wait! Do you think chorizo would work well in this? The blokey likes me to meaty things up a little!

      2. Oh I hadn’t heard of the first one, plenty was on my list but maybe I’ll have to sneak that one on too. Where is the new restaurant? I love love love the original in islington. Have spied him in there a few times and got a bit starstruck! Weird you should ask about chorizo – my boyfriend asked if it had any in because of the smoked paprika flavour and texture of the tomatoes he thought there was already meat in it! Putting chorizo in could possibly overpower the subtle flavours but by all means give it a go and let me know how it works for you! X

      3. The new ones Nopi in Soho. Cannot wait! I think I would get really star struck as well! Hmm maybe try it without chorizo first see how that goes down!

      4. Oh yes I’ve heard about that, Jay Rayner reviewed it for the guardian/observer recently. Or just try with a little chorizo! Then you can say its meat ;-) x

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s