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I use a combination of Castelvetrano olives (mild and buttery) and oil cured black olives – my two favorite olives. Please, please, please don’t use canned olives. Barley can be found in the dried bean section of most grocery stores. You can also order it online. Pearl or pot barley are both suitable for this recipe. The barley risotto is very easy to make requiring only a few stirs so no standing at the cooktop stirring constantly.
Prep Time20 mins
Cook Time40 mins
Total Time1 hr
Course: Main Course
Servings: 5
Calories: 584kcal
Author: Lovoni


  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 2 lb pork tenderloin
  • Pinch of sea salt and freshly ground pepper
  • 4 red, orange or yellow peppers or a combo of all, quartered, seeded and membrane removed, cut into wedges
  • 1 red onion, peeled and cut into wedges
  • 20 olives see intro
  • 2 tablespoons capers, drained
  • 1 garlic bulb, halved through the middle
  • 1 – 2 teaspoons crushed red pepper chili flakes
  • 1/2 cup chicken broth
  • 2 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
  • 1/4 cup chopped fresh Italian parsley
  • 3 cups chicken broth, approximately
  • Pinch saffron threads
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1/2 cup diced white or brown onion
  • 2 garlic cloves, finely grated
  • 1 1/3 cups pearl or pot barley
  • 1/2 cup vermouth
  • Pinch of sea salt
  • 1/2 cup finely grated fresh parmesan, plus extra for serving
  • Mascarpone to serve, optional


  • Preheat the oven to 400°F (180°C).
  • Heat the oil in a large ovenproof skillet or flameproof baking pan over medium-high heat. Add the pork, sprinkle all over with salt and pepper. Cook until browned all over, about 5 to 7 minutes. Remove the pork from the pan.
  • Add the pepper, onion, olives, capers, garlic and crushed red pepper; stir to combine. Cook for 3 to 5 minutes to get some browning on the pepper and onion. Nestle the pork into the pepper mixture. Roast, uncovered, for 20 minutes or until the pork is tender and a meat thermometer reads 145°F (63°C) when inserted into the middle of the pork. Remove the pork to a cutting board. Cover with foil and keep warm.
  • Add the vinegar and half of the parsley. Return the pan to the oven and cook a further 10 minutes until pepper and onion are tender. Carve the pork into 1/2-inch thick slices.

To make the risotto:

  • While the pork is cooking, combine the broth and the saffron in a small saucepan. And bring to a simmer. Turn off the heat; keep covered.
  • Heat the oil in a large skillet (about 12-inchs) over medium heat. Add the onion and cook for a few minutes until softened. Add the garlic and cook for 1 minute until fragrant. Add the barley and stir to coat the barley in the onion mixture. Add the vermouth and stir until combined.
  • Add the hot broth and stir to combine. Bring to a boil then reduce the heat to low or medium-low. Cook, covered, stirring twice during cooking, until the broth is absorbed and the barley is tender. Remove from the heat and stir in the parmesan and a couple of dollops of mascarpone.
  • Spoon the risotto into warm bowls. Add the pepper mixture, the pork and drizzle with any juices from the pepper pan (I’ll add a splash of boiling water from the kettle to create some if the juices have evaporated. Sprinkle with parsley and extra parmesan, if desired.


Calories: 584kcal | Carbohydrates: 50g | Protein: 50g | Fat: 19g | Saturated Fat: 5g | Cholesterol: 125mg | Sodium: 1120mg | Potassium: 1356mg | Fiber: 12g | Sugar: 7g | Vitamin A: 3385IU | Vitamin C: 140mg | Calcium: 184mg | Iron: 5mg