Roasted Squash with Leek & Barley Pilaf


  • 1 1/4 cups pearl barley
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 1 butternut squash, or similar winter squash
  • 1/4 cup olive oil, divided
  • salt & pepper to taste
  • 1 tablespoon thyme leaves, fresh, divided
  • 1-2 pinches hot pepper flakes, to taste
  • 2 tablespoons butter, divided
  • 3 ribs celery, sliced
  • 4 leeks, thickly sliced
  • 8 oz. crimini mushrooms, sliced
  • 2 carrots, coarsly shredded
  • 1/2-3/4 cups vegetable stock
  • handful fresh parsley, rough chop
  • 3 tablespoons pumpkin seeds, lightly toasted
  • 8 oz Fontina cheese


  • Rinse barley. Place in large saucepan with bay leaf and cover with water. Bring to boil and lower heat, simmering, partially covered for 30-40 minutes until tender. Drain and set aside.
  • Preheat oven to 400F. Cut squash into 4-8 wedges. Do not peel; scoop out seeds. Rub with half the oila nd put on baking sheet. Season with s/p and scatter over half the thyme and hot pepper flakes. Roast, uncovered in preheated oven for about 40 minutes until tender and browned.
  • Meanwhile heat remaining oil and half the butter in a skillet. Cook celery for 5 minutes; add leeks and the remaining thyme. Cook until softened. Add mushrooms and cook over medium heat until browned. Toss in carrots and cook another 1-2 minutes.
  • Add barley and stir, adding sufficient stock to make grains moist and reheat thoroughly. Check seasoning and stir in parsley, pumpkin seeds and remaining butter.
  • Serve by topping squash with sliced cheese and garnish with thyme springs. Sprinkle with pepper and let cheese melt under hot broiler until it bubbles. Serve immediately with barley pilaf.


  • SOURCE: Adapted from Cooking with Pumpkins & Squash/Brian Glover