Seafood and Barley Stew : Chef Stefano Manfredi

I have a soft spot for barley. It’s one of those things that returns me to my childhood. It was common at home, while growing up, for mum to add barley in the soups and stews of our family meals. I often think it’s the tastes and textures of our childhood to which we return when we truly need nourishment: (mind body and soul).

I’ve also got a soft spot for the cooking of Chef Stefano Manfredi. Three generations of my family have been comforted by his food. Over the years, his food has enriched our lives when eating out in a number of his restaurants. Stefano is currently cooking at Bells at Killcare and Pretty Beach House. His food is always simply perfect! And, his food nourishes mind, body and soul.

Orzo alla Marinara
Stefano Manfredi – Bells at Killcare

Serves 6

1kg mussels, washed and de-bearded
1kg vongole, washed well with no sand
2 leatherjackets, filleted and cut into bite-sized pieces
250g calamari, cleaned and cut into thin strips
200g cleaned prawns
6 scallops
4 eschalots, peeled and sliced thinly
3 garlic cloves, peeled and crushed
4tbsp fruity extra virgin olive oil
half tsp smoked paprika
quarter tsp chilli powder
1 tsp fennel seed
3 banana chillies, deseeded and halved
1 cup dry white wine
2 cups tomato “passato”
300g pearled barley, washed
300g shelled peas
1 cup chopped parsley
salt and pepper

Steam open the mussels and vongole in a pot and separate them from the liquid. Strain the liquid through a double layer of cheesecloth and reserve. Take all the mussels and vongole from their shells. Heat the olive oil in a heavy-bottom pot and gently fry the eschalots, garlic, paprika, chilli powder and fennel for a minute. Add the wine, turn up the heat and boil until there is almost no liquid left. Add the reserved shellfish cooking liquor as well as the passato, the banana chillies and a litre of water. Bring to the boil and add the barley. Simmer for 15 minutes then add the peas. Simmer for 10 minutes more then add the fish, calamari, prawns and scallops. Simmer for 5 minutes more then add the cooked shellfish and parsley. Season with salt and pepper to taste and stir well. Serve hot.

Bells at Killcare
107 The Scenic Road Killcare Beach
Central Coast NSW Australia
+61 2 4360 2411

and you can follow Chef Stefano Manfredi on Twitter at

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