For the orzotto

For the port sauce

For the squash


  • STEP 1

    Soak the 100g walnuts in water overnight. Strain through a sieve, put in a pan and cover with 300ml water. Bring to the boil, then simmer for 15 mins. Strain again, return to the pan with the stock and bring to the boil. Pour into a blender, blend on medium for 5 mins, then strain back into the pan. Set aside until step 4.

  • STEP 2

    Make the sauce: soften the shallot in the oil over a gentle heat for 10 mins. Stir in the spices and stock, increase the heat and reduce by three-quarters. Pour in the Port and gently simmer for 20 mins. Strain into a clean pan and reduce over a high heat until thickened, about 10 mins. Set aside. Heat oven to 200C/180C fan/gas 6.

  • STEP 3

    For the squash, heat the butter in an ovenproof pan. Fry the squash for 3-4 mins, then stir in the walnuts with the cinnamon, sugar and a pinch of salt. Roast for 15-20 mins or until tender. Keep warm.

  • STEP 4

    Meanwhile, make the orzotto. Warm the walnut stock. Heat the oil and 25g butter in a large, deep pan, add the shallots and soften for 10 mins, but don’t colour. Stir in the garlic and cook 3-4 mins more. Remove from the pan, set aside, then wipe the pan clean. Increase the heat, tip in the barley and toast for 2-3 mins, keeping it moving so it doesn’t burn. Quickly stir the shallots and garlic back into the pan with the barley, then pour in the Champagne. Stir well and add a ladleful of warm walnut stock. Lower the heat a little and keep adding stock when the orzotto looks ‘thirsty’, stirring occasionally to prevent it from sticking to the pan. (You’ll need about 500ml stock in total. Make up the amount with vegetable stock if necessary.) Cook until the barley is tender – 35-40 mins (you have a lot more grace with this than with rice, as it retains its bite for longer).

  • STEP 5

    When cooked, add another half ladle of stock (to stop the orzotto from thickening as it cools), then stir in the stilton and a knob of butter. Stir and season, remembering stilton can be very salty.

  • STEP 6

    To serve, reheat the sauce, adding a little more Port if it is too thick, then stir in the redcurrant jelly until dissolved and finish with the butter. Spoon some sauce over each plate and top with a few spoonfuls of orzotto. Garnish with the roasted squash and walnut halves, a few small pieces of stilton and leaves.

Recipe from Good Food magazine, December 2010

Goes well with


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