Lentils add extra flavour and texture to this Italian-style mushroom risotto. Serve with roast or grilled vegetables, such as peppers and courgettes, or a mixed salad, for a satisfying lunch.
Parmesan cheese is not truly vegetarian, as it contains animal rennet. To make this dish 100% vegetarian, omit the cheese or find a suitable vegetarian substitute made without animal rennet. In supermarkets look for the 'parmesan style hard cheeses' which are suitable for vegetarians.
*Instead of green lentils, try the tiny Puy lentils.
Pearl barley risotto: Soften 2 sliced leeks and 1 crushed garlic clove in 1 tbsp olive oil. Add 1 deseeded and diced red or yellow pepper, 250g (9oz) pearl barley, 2 tsp dried herbes de Provence, 200ml (7fl oz) dry white wine and 100ml (3½fl oz) hot vegetable stock. Simmer for 45 minutes, gradually adding a further 400–500ml (14–17fl oz) hot stock and stirring frequently, until the pearl barley is cooked and tender. Meanwhile, steam 225g (8oz) broccoli florets and cook 175g (6oz) frozen peas. Stir these into the risotto and season with salt and pepper to taste. Serve hot, topped with the Parmesan.
Lentils are the small seeds of a variety of leguminous plants. They are a good source of protein, complex carbohydrate, dietary fibre and B vitamins.
Loved it! Totally filling and delicious. Non-vegetarian husband loved it and we were both surprised how fantastic it was. 5 year old daughter did not like it... pretty sure it was just the consistency. It's a little mushy for the little ones, but I look forward to making it again for the adults. - 14 Aug 2011