Risotto. Why mess with success? Because I’m a whole grain nut. I was inspired to give barley a go by a Food & Wine clipping in my piles and a farro dish I learned from Joyce Goldstein. Easy, though not exactly quick on the stovetop, the results are worth it. This recipe is also a great way to experiment with different kinds of mushrooms (…that you buy from a reputable supplier). Top with a little extra virgin olive oil, shaved Parmigiano Reggiano, a few flakes of sea salt and you have a delicious, and healthy dinner.
Mushroom Barley Risotto
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 leek, chopped then washed carefully in bowl of water
1/2 teaspoon garlic puree
1/2 cup red wine
3 cups sliced mushrooms (I used 2 large Portobello caps and 8 regular sized criminis)
1 1/2 cups pearl barley
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 32 ounce box organic chicken stock
2 cups water
1 tablespoon unsalted organic butter
2 teaspoons balsamic vinegar or lemon juice
8 sprigs Italian parsley, leaves chopped stems discarded
Parmigiano Reggiano cheese, grated or shaved
extra virgin olive oil
1. Heat olive oil in large saucier pan or Dutch oven (needs to hold about 8 cups finished product). Add leek and sautee 5 minutes until softened. Add garlic puree and warm through. Add wine. Add mushrooms and 1/2 teaspoon salt. Sautee a couple minutes until mushrooms start releasing their liquid.
2. Warm stock and water in separate saucepan.
3. Rinse barley in a bowl of water, drain and add barley to the leek mixture. While stirring with a wooden spoon, add a small ladle (approx. 1/2 cup) of warm stock and simmer gently until liquid almost absorbed. Add another ladle of warm stock and continue stirring fairly frequently for about 40 total minutes or until you have incorporated all of the stock into the barley mixture. Cover the pan and remove from heat to let sit 10 minutes.
4. Add unsalted butter and balsamic vinegar or lemon juice, stir to combine then serve! Top with chopped parsley, the cheese, extra virgin olive oil and sea salt. Enjoy!