Creamy pea & chive risotto

Creamy pea & chive risotto

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(20 ratings)

Prep: 5 mins Cook: 25 mins Ready in 30 mins


Serves 2
Pearl barley is rich in calcium, minerals, iron and potassium, and that's just to start with. Make the most of it with this creamy risotto

Nutrition and extra info

  • Easily halved
  • Vegetarian

Nutrition: per serving

  • kcal656
  • fat20g
  • saturates6g
  • carbs104g
  • sugars12g
  • fibre8g
  • protein20g
  • salt1.41g
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  • 2 tbsp olive oil

    Olive oil

    ol-iv oyl

    Probably the most widely-used oil in cooking, olive oil is pressed from fresh olives. It's…

  • 1 onion, finely chopped



    Onions are endlessly versatile and an essential ingredient in countless recipes. Native to Asia…

  • 200g pearl barley
  • 1.2l vegetable stock
  • 140g pea



    A type of legume, peas grow inside long, plump pods. As is the case with all types of legume,…

  • 100g light cream cheese with chives
  • small bunch chives, snipped

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  1. Heat the oil in a large, deep pan, then gently fry the onion for 3-4 mins. Stir in the pearl barley, sizzle for a few mins, then pour in about a third of the stock. Simmer fiercely for 20 mins, stirring occasionally, adding more stock gradually as it is absorbed. With 5 mins to go, stir in the peas. After 20 mins there should be some liquid left and the barley should be cooked through.

  2. Turn the heat off under the risotto and let it sit for a min, then stir in the cream cheese and most of the chives. Season well and serve scattered with the rest of the chives.

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Comments (25)

irenemorrill's picture

I used goats cheese instead of cream cheese, delicious!!!

maggieblinkhorn's picture

The other recipes recommended just from the pictures they include ingredients on my banned list. Think it is time someone got to grips with what 'low potassium' means.

maggieblinkhorn's picture

How can a recipe described as rich in potassium come up when I put in low potassium recipes, is this not a contradiction?

emmas29's picture

I used 100g each of pearl barley and risotto rice, soaking the barley in cold water for 2 hours first. I also added garlic to the onions, white wine at the start of the absorption process, and some chopped ham with the peas at the end. I then used half a tub of light philadelphia with chives. Finished off with some parmesan shavings and chopped fresh chives this was delicious.....there was far too much for 2 however, so we both had to have seconds!!!

niftypixie's picture

YUMMY! We took peoples' comments on board about cooking it longer - the packet of pearl barley said 1 hour so we added the peas after 55 minutes. Delicious. We will definitely be doing again. Very, very easy. Had with a nice salad.

monkeykiddo's picture

That was delicious. I only used 50g of the cream cheese though and went for a plain type plus a little bit of mozzarella, which was much lighter. I also added some mushrooms and some pieces of pumpkin which I needed to use up and it went so well together.
Delicious with a glass of cabernet Sauvignon and a side salad of rocket.

elmsyrup's picture

You can cook pearl barley for only 20 minutes like in this recipe- but in order to do that you must soak it first (for at least 2 hours, or overnight). Alternatively you can use pre-steamed quick cook barley.

vrog's picture

I like this and have made it several times - a very easy recipe, but I agree about the timings. I tend to cook it ahead - so turn it off after 20mins and leave it to absorb the liquid and gently cook through. Then just heat it up again before adding the cheese. The pearl barley is tasty and a different texture to rice.

lizfisher56's picture

I made this for the first time last night and wished that I had read some of these reviews first. Like others, I found the pearl barley took approx 1 hour to cook so I am quite confused how you can say that it only takes 20 minutes. I will ty it with arborio rice next time to see if that helps. Apart from the timing issue it was a good recipe.

ruby-tuesday's picture

I think this recipe needs some amendments as firstly pearl barley definitely needs longer than 20minutes to cook- i would say more like 1 hour. Secondly 200g of pearl barley feeds 4 people amply.

With the above amendments taken into consideration this recipe is great. I also added shredded chicken as I had some left over roast chicken the day before and in place of cream cheese I added grated Parmesan which finished it off perfectly.

splodgemeister's picture

I absolutely love making and eating risotto so thought this sounded like a great recipe to try...I was wrong!! The pearl barley took over 40 minutes to cook and even then wasn't very nice! The texture was all wrong and nothing like a proper risotto. I managed to eat half a portion (which, by the way, are huge. This definitely serves more than 2) but then sadly binned the rest. By far the most disappointing recipe I have ever tried from Good Food. I advise everyone to stick to making risotto with rice!!!

jasminebro's picture

This was sickly. I was wary about using cream cheese with chives, as it tastes a bit synthetic, but thought I would give it a go. No! It was too rich, the chive flavour was too overpowering and the barley texture is just too much as the main constituent of the meal.
I am vegetarian and like to try out interesting ideas, but even I found this unpleasant, my partner who has more conventional tastes could hardly bring himself to eat this. I would try it again for myself with risotto rice, and with plain cream cheese mabye, but would still probably be a bit rich.

abikinsey's picture

I found this took much longer than the recipe stated to cook the pearl barley, ended up taking over an hour and i'm not sure it was fully cooked - was chewy... unsatisfied with this one, would have to use risotto rice in future as the flavour was nice!
Shame Good Food...

p.s the pealr barley packet stated it woul dneed boiling for 1hr15m or until tender - stated do not eat uncooked!!!!

primitivny's picture

I cooked this recipe yesterday and definately going to make it again! absolutely scrummy!

mautycka's picture

I think I´ll add a handful of dried wood mushrooms next time :-)

phil1957's picture

I have made this once with the pearlbarly and cream cheese, I found the pearlbarly a bit hard, I might not have cooked it long enough, but I do prefer making it with rice

emmagazegooglemail's picture

Have just eaten this and used risotto rice and added strips of skinless chicken. Was lovely - my 1st time cooking risotto and turned out lush, will definately be making this again.

emmagazegooglemail's picture

Have just eaten this and used risotto rice and added strips of skinless chicken. Was lovely - my 1st time cooking risotto and turned out lush, will definately be making this again.

camp_lion's picture

I've been meaning to write a review of this for a while but I'm only just getting round to it. I really enjoy this recipe, I find the pearl barley holds together much better than risotto rice, which can end up going a bit mushy. The cream cheese makes it lovely and comforting. Nom nom nom.

bethocallaghan's picture

used pearl barley - you need to use cream cheese to make up for the lack of creaminess that you get from risotto rice. Can't help but think if risotto rice was used it would be too rich.


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Tips (2)

niftypixie's picture

Cook for longer. Don't worry about flavoured cheese.

niftypixie's picture

Cook it longer than the recipe says (we did about 1 hour) and don't worry about flavoured cream cheese. We just added extra chives. And used full fat cream cheese. Yum.

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