Nettle & Barley Risotto

The oldest recorded recipe in Britain according to the Centre for Nutrition and Dietetics at the University of Wales Institute in Cardiff is one for nettle pudding, consisting of not surprisingly nettle with barley. They claim it to be 8,000 years old!

Taking this for inspiration I decided to create a nettle risotto using barley instead of rice, to which I added ramsons (wild garlic), and kelp seaweed.

This nettle risotto recipe is easy, quick and deeply nourishing, so you won’t need bowlfuls to feel thoroughly satiated.

I find barley extremely warming, and with this years spring vacillating between sun, rain and hail, this nettle risotto recipe hits the spot for those who like their food deliciously tasty and simple.

Further reading: Traditional and Modern Use of Stinging Nettle

Nettle Risotto Recipe Ingredients

  • 80g nettles
  • 70g wild garlic (chopped)
  • 3g dried kelp
  • 200g pearl barley
  • 500ml stock
  • 200ml nettle & kelp water
  • 40g parmesan cheese
  • 2tbsp cream cheese
  • 1 onion
  • 3 garlic cloves (chopped)
  • 3 tbsp of vegetable oil
  • black pepper

Nettle Risotto Recipe Instructions

  1. Put nettles and kelp into a pan and cover with water. Bring to a simmer and cook for 10 minutes. Drain, reserving the liquid. Remove the kelp, and squeeze the nettles to remove any excess liquid, then chop.
  2. In a large frying pan or paella dish add 2 tablespoons of oil, and gently fry the onion for about 3 minutes until soft and translucent, next add the garlic and stir so as not to burn it.
  3. Add another tablespoon of oil, then pour in the barley, add the chopped nettles and stir to coat.
  4. Mix together 500ml of stock (I use a good chicken stock) with 200ml of the reserved nettle/kelp liquid, called from now on simply; the stock
  5. Add a ladle of the stock, and stir continuously until it has been absorbed by the barley. Keep ladling the stock in small amounts until the barley is cooked. When you have only about 200ml left of the stock add in the chopped wild garlic. Remember to keep stirring all the time, so the barley doesn’t burn.
  6. When the barley is cooked, add the parmesan cheese, cream cheese and black pepper. Stir together and serve.

Serves: 2

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