September 30, 2010

barley risotto

Traditionally made with arborio and other starchy rice varieties, risotto may be considered a classic comfort food in Italy. I haven't made risotto before, not even with the real deal using arborio rice. I was searching for some new side dishes to try for our weekday meals when I remembered reading about barley as a good substitute for rice. Starchy and creamy at the same time, this version made with barley was equally rich tasting and filling. I simmered the barley in water until half cooked then drained it well. Sautee 1/2 cup of chopped onions in olive oil in a skillet then add the drained barley. Stir the mixture then finish slow cooking the barley in the skillet. Gradually add the chicken broth (or use vegetable broth) until the barley becomes tender and creamy as it absorbs the broth. Lastly, I added the green peas and the sliced mushrooms.
butter was tossed in for flavor
A tablespoon of butter may also be added for extra flavor but this is optional. The only thing I forgot was some grated parmesan cheese at serving time. Other than that, we love this healthier and fiber-rich risotto version. This will surely make a comeback to our dinner table sometime soon.

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