Orzo alla marinara (seafood and barley stew)


  • Serves 6 people

  • 1 kg mussels, scrubbed and debearded
  • 1 kg vongole, washed well, soaked in water for 20 mins to purge, drained
  • 80 ml (1/3 cup) extra-virgin olive oil
  • 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 (2 cups) tomato passata
  • 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
01   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.
02   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.
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