A healthier version of a favourite winter dish, take a break from the Christmas calorie overload without losing any of the indulgence factor.
2 tbsp olive oil
1 large onion, chopped
2 garlic cloves, crushed
180g chestnuts, roughly chopped (optional)
2 thyme sprigs, leaves picked
250g mixed mushrooms, sliced
300g pearl barley
150ml white wine
1 litre vegetable stock
4 tbsp ricotta cheese
parsley leaves (optional), to serve
Heat the oil in a large frying pan over a medium high heat, add the onion and fry until softened and golden, around 10 mins. Add the garlic, chestnuts, if using, and the thyme, fry for a minute, then tip in the mushrooms and fry until they begin to soften, around 3 mins.
Stir in the pearl barley, making sure everything is well combined and cook for 2-3 mins. Tip in the wine and leeave to bubble away until its reduced by half. Add one-third of the stock, stir, then turn the heat down and let the pearl barley absorb the liquid. Continue adding the remaining stock, a bit at a time, adding more once each addition has been absorbed.
Stir through the rocket, cook for 1 min, then divide between bowls. Top with a dollop of ricotta and a scattering of parsley, if you like.