Risotto is a delicious, creamy dish that can add decadence to any meal. Traditionally it is made with Arborio rice which is a white rice that gives it an incredibly smooth and creamy texture. While Arborio rice has more fibre than other white rice’s (2g/cup vs 0g/cup), barely offers up a better nutritional panel (6g fiber/cup, 4g protein/cup), and gives a lovely chewy variation.
You will need to give yourself enough time to make this, at least an hour, as you cannot rush a risotto. It is worth the effort! Since you have to open a bottle of wine for 1/2 a cup, pour yourself a cup, turn on some tunes, and enjoy!
- 4 cups broth (low salt, chicken or vegetable works)
- 1 1/2 cups water
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
- 2 shallots, finely chopped
- 2 cloves garlic, minced
- 3 cups mushrooms, coarsely chopped (I use the brown crimini)
- 1 1/2 cups pearl barley, rinsed
- 1/2 cup red wine
- 1/3 cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese
- 1 tablespoon butter
- 2 teaspoons balsamic vinegar
- Freshly ground pepper, to taste
Start by pouring the broth and water into a medium pot and heating it to just before a simmer.
In a large deep pan, heat the olive oil over medium heat. Add the shallots and cook until translucent, about 2 minutes. Stir in the garlic.
Add the mushrooms and lower the heat to low-medium. Slowly cook the mushrooms and allow them to release their juices and reduce in size.
Add the barley. Increase the temperature to medium heat again. Toast it for a minute or two.
Pour the red wine into the pan and allow the barley to soak it up.
Using a soup ladle, add about 1/2 cup of broth. Let it simmer and allow the barley to absorb the liquid.
When it’s almost dry, add another ladle of broth. Continue this process until the barley is creamy and soft.
Stir in the grated Parmesan cheese and butter. I have done this vegan style by omitting this step – have to say, it’s not the same. Still good, but this is really better.
Add the balsamic vinegar and salt ‘n’ pepper to taste.
Voila! So good. Great way to spend a Sunday afternoon 🙂
Try wilting in some baby spinach or arugula, would be a lovely way to add greens. You would need 4-6 cups.
You can add peas at the end, chopped peppers, or any other vegetable that you’d like.
We haven’t tried to freeze this yet as it get gobbled up over a few days. Let us know if you try it!