I want fresh fruits and vegetables. And even though I love winter squash, I've reached my limit. I made this risotto in the midst of the blizzard and it was a great winter dish. But I'm sick of it. This was my first time cooking with barley and it took a verrrry long time. 2 plus hours I think? It was pretty low maintenance though- I was not a diligent stirrer and it still turned out
incredibly creamy. And using barley makes this slightly healthier than normal risotto...
Barley Risotto with Butternut Squash and Cremini Mushrooms
makes about 4 servings
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 onion, chopped
1 cup pearl barley
2 quarts low sodium chicken stock
2 garlic cloves, minced
1 butternut squash, cut into 1/2 inch cubes
3/4 lbs cremini mushrooms
1/2 cup grated Parmesan
3 cups fresh spinach
Heat 1 tablespoon oil over medium heat. Add onion and saute until translucent. Add the barley and toast for a few minutes to release starches. Add the chicken stock a 1/2 cup at a time, stirring until it is absorbed. Continue adding chicken stock until the barley becomes soft.
Meanwhile, heat the remaining oil over medium heat and add the squash. Cook until squash begins to soften, then add mushrooms and garlic. Saute until the mushrooms and squash are fully cooked. Once the barley is done, add in the squash and mushroom. Add the spinach and cheese.