Barley Risotto with Prawns and Pea Pesto

Barley Risotto with Prawns and Pea Pesto
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Pearl barley is a great alternative to rice and goes perfectly here with prawns and peas.


Table of Contents


  • 24 green prawns, peeled, deveined, tails intact, heads and shells reserved
  • 1.5L vegetable or chicken stock
  • 2 tbsp extra virgin olive oil, plus extra to drizzle
  • 2 eschalots, finely chopped
  • 1½ cups (300g) pearl barley, rinsed
  • 2/3 cup (165ml) dry white wine
  • Pea tendrils to serve (optional)


  • 1 cup (120g) frozen peas, thawed
  • ½ bunch basil, leaves picked, small leaves reserved to serve
  • ¾ cup (60g) finely grated parmesan, plus extra to serve
  • ¼ cup (60ml) extra virgin olive oil
  • Finely grated zest and juice of 1 lemon


  1. In a saucepan, place prawn heads, shells, and stock. Place over high heat and bring to a boil. Reduce heat and simmer for 4 minutes. Strain liquid into a heatproof container to keep warm. Set aside.
  2. In a large heavy-based saucepan, heat oil over medium heat. Add eschalot, and cook for 2-3 minutes until soft. Add barley, and stir to coat grains in oil. Add wine. Simmer for 2 minutes or until the wine has evaporated.
  3. Reduce heat to low. Add prawn stock a ladleful at a time, stirring regularly and allowing stock to be absorbed before adding the next until barley is al dente. This will take 30-35 minutes. Add prawns, and stir to combine. Simmer gently for 1 minute, then remove from heat and allow residual heat to continue to cook prawns for 5 minutes, stirring occasionally.
  4. For pea pesto, place all ingredients into a small food processor. Blitz to a coarse paste, then season.
  5. Divide the risotto among serving bowls, spoon over pea pesto, and scatter with pea tendrils (if using), basil leaves, and parmesan. Serve drizzled with extra virgin olive oil and a twist of black pepper.
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About the Author: Jenny Kristy

Spice Seeker, Recipe Weaver, Nomad Chef |With a passport bursting with stamps and a pantry overflowing with global spices, Jenny Kristy isn't just a cook, she's a culinary nomad. Her travels fuel her passion, transforming exotic flavors into recipes that tantalize and transport. She weaves magic in her kitchen, sharing her adventures through meals that whisper of Marrakesh markets and Tuscan trattorias. From teaching sushi to whipping up Moroccan masterpieces, Jenny ignites wanderlust and connects cultures, one delicious bite at a time.

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