2-3pieceslarge carrots, peeled (if desired) and cut into even
Fresh thyme sprigs
Salt and pepper to taste
For the risotto:
Heat vegetable stock in a saucepan until simmering.
Heat olive oil in a separate large saucepan or frypan (skillet).
Add onion, garlic and thyme, and cook for 5-10 minutes over a low-medium heat until soft and golden.
Add barley and stir to coat grains in oil. Cook for a few minutes to toast the grains.
Add the bay leaves and vegetable stock, reserving about one cup for later.
Cook for 45-60 minutes, stirring from time to time. The barley soaks up a surprising amount of liquid so keep an eye on it and add more stock as required. If you run out of stock, add a splash of boiling water from the kettle.
Once the barley is cooked but still has a little firmness, remove and discard bay leaves.
Stir through the lemon zest and juice.
Stir through 3-4 tablespoon of kale pesto, which will freshen up the flavour and add to the creaminess of the risotto. Add a little bit more water if it needs loosening up.
Taste and adjust seasoning with salt and pepper.
Serve with roasted carrots and more kale pesto, as you like.
For the carrots:
Preheat oven to 200C (390F).
In a mixing bowl, toss together the carrots, olive oil, maple syrup, and salt and pepper to taste. Make sure the carrots are well coated.
Put the carrots into a roasting dish and into the oven.
Roast for about 30 minutes, until soft and caramelised around the edges. Turn up the temperature for 5-10 minutes towards the end if you're not getting the colour you're after.
Nutrition information does not include kale pesto.