25ml olive oil, plus 20ml
25g leeks, sliced
2 garlic cloves, finely chopped
40g chicken or vegetable stock mixed with 1 litre boiling water
1 cup cream
½ cup pecorino, grated, plus extra
200g mixed mushrooms
1 sprig thyme
40ml balsamic vinegar
1t brown sugar
sage, for garnish
In a pot, cook the barley until soft but with a bite. Drain and set aside. In another pot, heat olive oil and add the leeks. Fry gently, stirring continuously. After a few minutes, add the garlic followed by the cooked barley. Stir and add a cup of stock and the cream. Allow to simmer. Keep adding more stock and stirring in stages until you have used up the entire litre of stock. Add the pecorino and stir in gently. Make sure the consistency of the risotto is that of a very thick, rich soup – it should not be one heavy mound when dished up on a plate.
In a separate pan, heat 20ml olive oil and fry the mushrooms on a high heat, tossing continuously. Add a sprig of thyme, a pinch of salt, balsamic vinegar and sugar. Stir until the sugar has dissolved completely and remove from heat. Serve the risotto hot, topped with a generous helping of balsamic mushrooms, pecorino and sage.
This article was published in HL August 2016
Recipes and Food Styling: Khanya Mzongwana