Chef's Recipes

Orzo alla marinara (seafood and barley stew)

Australian Gourmet Traveller recipe for Orzo alla marinara (seafood and barley stew)

By Stefano Manfredi
  • Serves 6
  • 40 mins preparation
  • 35 mins cooking
Orzo alla marinara (seafood and barley stew)
Orzo alla marinara (seafood and barley stew)

"The inspiration for this dish comes from my love of Italian soups and stews and Australia's great seafood. But what binds it all together and thickens it is the starch from the pearl barley, soft, round and nutty." Stefano Manfredi, Bells at Killcare, Killcare Heights, NSW


  • 1 kg mussels, scrubbed and debearded
  • 1 kg vongole, washed well, soaked in water for 20 mins to purge, drained
  • 80 ml extra-virgin olive oil (1/3 cup)
  • 4 golden shallots, thinly sliced
  • 3 garlic cloves, crushed
  • 2 tsp fennel seeds
  • ½ tsp smoked paprika
  • ¼ tsp chilli powder
  • 250 ml dry white wine
  • 500 ml tomato passata (2 cups)
  • 3 banana chillies, deseeded and coarsely chopped
  • 300 gm pearl barley, rinsed
  • 300 gm podded peas (700gm unpodded)
  • 2 leatherjackets, filleted, pin-boned and cut into bite-sized pieces
  • 250 gm calamari, cleaned and cut into thin strips
  • 200 gm peeled medium uncooked prawns
  • 1 cup coarsely chopped flat-leaf parsley


  • 1
    Heat 250ml water in a large saucepan over high heat, add mussels and vongole, cover with a lid and shake the pan occasionally until the shellfish open (3-5 minutes). Drain through a muslin-lined sieve and reserve shellfish and liquid separately. When shellfish are cool enough to handle, remove meat from shells and set aside. Discard shells.
  • 2
    Heat olive oil in a saucepan over medium heat, add shallot, garlic, fennel seeds, paprika and chilli powder and stir for 1 minute. Add wine, increase heat to high and boil until liquid evaporates (2-3 minutes). Add 750ml reserved cooking liquid, passata, chilli and 1 litre water. Bring to the boil, add barley and simmer until al dente (10-15 minutes). Add peas, simmer until just tender (8-10 minutes), then add fish, calamari and prawns and simmer until just cooked (4-5 minutes). Add shellfish and parsley, season to taste, stir well and serve hot.


This recipe is from the May 2011 issue of Australian Gourmet Traveller.

  • Author: Stefano Manfredi