½cupwhite wine(optional, otherwise use extra stock)
2cups good quality chicken or vegetable stock
¼cupgrated Parmesan cheese (or hard cheese of your choice)plus extra for garnishing
Salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste
Fresh parsley,roughly chopped, for garnishing (or oregano)
Add the gem squash halves to a large saucepan of salted boiling water. Cook for about 15 minutes, or until the flesh is tender. Remove, drain and set aside to cool before removing the seeds.
Meanwhile, add the butter and olive oil to a large heavy-based saucepan over medium-high heat. When the butter starts to foam, add the onion and herbs and cook for 10 minutes, or until the onion has softened and is translucent.
Add the garlic and barley and stir well until the barley is well coated in any remaining oil and butter. Add the wine and stir for about 5 minutes until the liquid has been absorbed.
Add the stock and milk and leave to simmer, uncovered and stirring occasionally, until the liquid has been absorbed and the barley is cooked through and creamy. Add a little extra water along the way if necessary. It should be creamy and not too dry.
Scoop out the flesh of the gem squash and add it to the risotto. Stir until everything is well mixed together. Add the Parmesan, check for seasoning and serve immediately in warmed bowls with a little extra grated Parmesan and fresh parsley to garnish.
Add the gem squash halves to a large saucepan of salted boiling water. Cook for about 15 minutes, or until the flesh is tender.