Chefs' Recipes

Guy Grossi's pearl barley polenta

This version of polenta might swap out the traditional cornmeal for barley, but it's still just as hearty and comforting.

By Guy Grossi & Mario Di Natale
  • 20 mins preparation
  • 1 hr 15 mins cooking
  • Serves 6
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Pearl barley polenta
"This 'polenta', made with barley, is a great alternative to corn polenta or mashed potato," says chef Guy Grossi. "It's both hearty and comforting, and works particularly well with braised dishes – a lovely way to use barley."


  • 75 gm pearl barley
  • 1 fresh bay leaf
  • 250 gm coarsely ground pearl barley (see note)
  • Extra-virgin olive oil and Pecorino Romano, to serve


  • 1
    Place pearl barley and bay leaf in a saucepan, cover with 1 litre cold water and simmer over medium heat, adding more water if necessary, until barley is tender (45 minutes to 1 hour). Drain and transfer to a bowl.
  • 2
    Meanwhile, bring 1 litre water to the boil, season with ¾ tsp salt and whisk in ground barley. Reduce heat to low and cook, stirring occasionally with a wooden spoon, until almost tender but slightly al dente (24-26 minutes).
  • 3
    Fold pearl barley through the ground barley and season to taste. Serve drizzled with oil and scattered with freshly grated Pecorino Romano.


Garum's chefs grind their own barley; we suggest using fine or crushed white pearl barley, then grinding it a little further (but still coarsely) with a mortar and pestle.

  • undefined: Guy Grossi & Mario Di Natale