Beets Orzotto

Recipe in this post:
BEETROOT ORZOTTO with caramelised chorizo, pine kernels & lime perfumes
(serves 2 or makes a great starter for 4)

Beetroot Orzotto

(200g pearl barley; 1L broth; 2 beetroots; 1 tsp ground coriander; 30g chorizo; 2 tbsp balsamic vinegar; 1 lime zest; lemon thyme; 2 tbsp pine kernels; 1 onion; EVO oil; salt; a splash of cow/oat milk)
  1. Gently pan fry half onion slices in EVO oil till golden brown, then add the pealed and diced beetroots with the other half onion and some ground coriander. Sauté for about 10 minutes till they start to glaze.
  2. Once cooled a bit, blitz the cooked beetroots with a food processor. If they remain too thick, you can add a splash of EVO oil or a little bit of cow/oat milk to smoothen the compound.
  3. Quickly toast the pearl barley in some EVO oil for about 2 minutes. Start to cook the orzotto covering the barley with a ladle of broth at a time and keeping it on medium-high heat. Add the blitzed beetroots to the barley with more ladles of broth. Cook the barley till all the broth is absorbed, which is about 20-30 minutes in total, depending on the consistency you want to obtain.
  4. In the meantime, dice the chorizo in small cubes and sauté them in the balsamic vinegar with the pine kernels and the lemon thyme, till the vinegar is reduced and the chorizo is shimmering.
  5. Serve the orzotto mixing in the chorizo cubes balsamic reduction with the pine kernels, and garnish with leaves of lemon thyme and the lime zest.

Orzotto is a great alternative to risotto, very common in the north-east of Italy. The word itself is a blending of ‘orzo’, Italian for barley, and ‘risotto’. Do not confuse it with a pasta shape called ‘orzo’, which are a wheat pasta shaped like rice grains–in fact we call these ‘risoni’, i.e. big rice grains, in Italy.

Orzotto tends to be slightly crunchier than risotto, even though barley gives that sort of sponginess at the same time. I like to cook it al dente, but it is not uncommon to find it cooked for longer in order to get a softer feel of the grains. Because of its consistency, I like to use it in combination with different textures, such as the crunchy chorizo dices and the pine kernels in this recipe. You can make an orzotto with pretty much anything, from vegetables to fish and even meat like sausages and speck.

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