Here is my creamy tomato risotto with barley, a lush homemade roasted tomato pesto and tinned tuna… A delicious lunch, starter or light main course!
And another recipe to add to my large collection of risotto recipes…
A roasted tomato risotto recipe! But not just any tomato risotto mind you: mine here has homemade tomato pesto in it. That is where that gorgeous bright red color comes from, see.
But don’t worry, it is very easy to make at home.
And there is a second catch: I didn’t use risotto rice, but barley.
Quick cook barley to be precise, which makes preparing this tomato risotto an absolute breeze.
All in all it took me under 10 minutes to make this tomato risotto I think.
I added chili sauce to the risotto instead of the usual black pepper because I thought that touch of heat would also work well in combination with the roasted tomato flavor and tuna.
Easy Tomato Risotto with Barley & Tuna
And it did!
So does the fresh oregano instead of the traditional fresh basil. Hands down a delicious plate of barley risotto…
Do you love this one?
Then also check out my sun dried tomato soup with codfish and arugula!
This tomato pesto recipe is not your classic Italian red pesto or pesto rosso because for the latter sun dried tomatoes and basil are used as main ingredients. For this recipe below I used freshly roasted tomatoes, garlic and onions.
Once you add that olive oil while blending, this pesto will become thick and creamy. Not as chunky and oily as a good pesto rosso.
Do you have any tomato pesto left?
Then you can also use it as a sandwich spread, a salad dressing, a sauce to serve with feta cheese and fresh mozzarella or an appetizer dip.
For The Roasted Tomato Pesto
This homemade roasted tomato pesto is so easy to make!
- 25 cherry tomatoes
- 3 large garlic cloves unpeeled
- ½ tsp dried herbs
- a handful fresh oregano
- 1 tsp balsamic vinegar
- olive oil
First off: rinse the cherry tomatoes, then let them drain on a clean kitchen towel and then slice them in half. Place them on a baking tray and add the garlic cloves. Leave their skins because otherwise the will burn while roasting. Sprinkle with some olive oil and season with a pinch of pepper and salt.
Then place the cherry tomatoes in a preheated oven at 400°F (200°C) for about 35 to 45 minutes until they are dried out a little and the edges are blackened a little. Put some tinfoil on top if the tomatoes burn too quickly in your oven. Do that right in the beginning for about 20 minutes until the tomatoes are soft and then remove the foil again to roast them for another 20 minutes. Once the tomatoes are done, then remove the tray from the oven and let them cool down. Remove the soft garlic cloves from their crispy skins. Add them together with the roast tomatoes to a blender.
Pulse a couple of seconds into a chunky paste. Then add the fresh oregano.
Pulse again. Scrape down the sides regularly with a spatula or spoon. Then add ¼ cup (60 ml) of olive oil. Also add the dried herbs and balsamic vinegar. Season with a pinch of pepper and salt.
Blend well again into a thick red creamy mixture. Then check the seasoning and add extra pepper or salt to taste. The tomato pesto should be fairly solid and spreadable, not runny at all. Scoop the pesto in a clean container. Cover and store it in the fridge for about a week.
Easy Tomato Risotto with Barley & Tuna
So that deliciously creamy tomato pesto is now ready to use!
Let’s move on the next step of this barley and tomato risotto recipe then: our lush tomato risotto with barley and tuna. I used quick cook barley which is pre boiled already. I use it a lot in my kitchen though, far more than couscous or quinoa.
The portion below is good for a main dish. If you want it to be a side dish or starter, then I suggest you only use about 3,5 oz (100 g) of barley.
Can you prepare this dish with risotto rice instead of barley?
Risotto Rice or Barley?
I use barley because I just love a good barley risotto. In fact I got the inspiration for this dish after having lunch in a gorgeous restaurant in France.
We also had a kind of risotto there as a starter.
But instead of risotto rice the chef used spelt wheat. What stood out the most for me was the difference in texture between cooked rice and wheat. So I put this idea on my list of dishes to try out at home.
And here it is finally!
What Tuna to Use
Just one word about the tuna that you need here: use a good quality tuna that you can flake nicely. Not one that falls apart into wet crumbs as soon as you take it out of its tin.
I do use the cheaper lower quality canned tuna in my kitchen though, especially when I am preparing a vitello tonnato because it goes into the blender anyway. For this tomato risotto however chunky flaky tuna looks far more appetising.
I really hope you love this one.
Easy Tomato Risotto with Barley & Tuna Recipe
Creamy tomato risotto with barley, roasted tomato pesto and tuna!
- 6,5 oz quick cook barley (185 g)
- 3 oz good quality canned tuna (85 g)
- 2 tbsp onion chopped
- 1 small garlic clove chopped
- 1 tsp unsalted butter 10 g
- 1 cup vegetable stock 240 ml, hot
- ½ cup homemade tomato pesto 120 g
- 1 bay leaf
- a handful fresh arugula
- hot chili sauce
- 1 tbsp olive oil
Add the olive oil to a large non-stick pan and place it over medium heat until hot. Then add the bay leaf, chopped garlic and onion.
Stir well and cook the onion for a few minutes until it starts to soften. Then add the barley to the pan. Season with a little pinch of salt.
Stir well again to coat the barley with the olive oil. Cook for 2 more minutes until the the barley is warmed through. Then add some hot vegetable stock.
Gently simmer the barley for about 3 minutes over medium heat until the vegetable stock has disappeared more or less. Gradually add extra vegetables stock to the barley until it's nearly tender. Check regularly. Once the barley is almost tender, take the pan off the heat and add the butter, homemade tomato pesto and a drop of chili sauce.
Stir well again until the risotto looks bright orange. Cover the pan and let the barley risotto rest for another 2 minutes until tender. Then check the seasoning and add extra chili sauce or salt to taste if necessary.
Remove the bay leaf first. Then scoop the creamy barley tomato risotto onto deep plates. Garnish with the canned tuna and fresh arugula. Serve piping hot.