Roast Squash Orzotto with Duck Breast

The same slow-cooked style of dish as risotto; when made with pearl barley, this Italian classic is called an orzotto. The rich duck provides a savoury, meaty accompaniment to the sweet squash.

Serves: 2
40 minutes
30 minutes


  • 2 Gressingham duck breasts
  • 350g butternut squash, peeled and diced
  • 2 tbsp olive oil
  • 2 cloves of garlic, crushed
  • ½ a red onion, sliced
  • 125ml good dry white wine
  • 1 chicken stock cube, dissolved in 500ml hot water
  • 125g pearl barley, cooked in boiling water for 25 minutes then drained
  • 50g butter
  • A few sage leaves, finely sliced
  • ½ a red chilli, deseeded and finely sliced


  1. Preheat your oven to 180°c or 160°c fan. Dry the duck breasts well with kitchen roll. Lightly score the skin six to eight times with a sharp knife. Season on both sides.
  2. Place the duck in a cold pan with no oil on a low to medium heat, and fry for about 6 minutes until the skin is crisp and golden. Carefully pour off any fat into a bowl as you cook. Transfer the duck breasts to the preheated oven for 6 to 8 minutes, longer if you prefer your duck well done. Remove and rest somewhere warm for 5 to 10 minutes.
  3. Meanwhile, in another frying pan over a low to medium heat fry the butternut squash with the olive oil until it starts to soften. Stir in the garlic and onion then cook for a further 5 minutes.
  4. Turn up the heat, pour in the wine and half the chicken stock, then bring to the boil. Fold in the pearl barley and cook until it takes on a risotto-like appearance and consistency. Add more liquid gradually if it’s drying out too quickly. Stir in any juices from the resting duck.
  5. In a small pan, quickly melt the butter then drop in the sage and chilli.
  6. Season the orzotto to taste then serve in warm bowls. Carve the duck into thick slices, place on top of the orzotto and drizzle the sage and chilli butter over to finish.

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Our Story

The Gressingham duck is a unique breed that first came about when the small but flavourful wild Mallard was crossed with the larger Pekin duck giving a meaty, succulent duck with more breast meat, less fat and a rich gamey flavour.