Spring is here and with summer right around the corner, here is a recipe that will take care of the colder days while still keeping it light and refreshing. Barley risotto has the advantage of requiring a little less work then a regular Arborio rice risotto as you do not need to stir it as much. My secret weapon in order to get a creamy texture is to use the Parmesan rind while cooking. This lends to a beautiful rich and creamy texture that tastes amazing. I always buy fresh Parmesan and keep the rinds in the freezer, ready to add to soups and add tons of flavor.
In a large pan, melt 1 tbsp of butter and add the onion, cooking until it is translucent. Add the garlic and cook for another minute or two. Add the remaining butter and the barley, cooking for 3 to 4 minutes. At this point you can deglaze with a white wine if you have it on hand, if not using, go directly to the next step. Wait until the wine has evaporated and add 2 cups of the stock along with the Parmesan rind. Stirring once in while, add stock, 1 cup at a time, once the previous addition of stock has evaporated. This will take anywhere from 20 to 30 minutes. Set up the heat to about medium in order to keep a low simmer going on.
Taste from time to time. You want the barley to still have just a little bit of bite to it without it being completely soft. Once you’ve attained your desired texture, add one final cup of stock (or water if you are out of stock) and stir in the peas, Parmesan and lemon zest. Serve with a sprinkle of green onions, extra Parmesan, toasted cashews and/or pepper flakes. The garnish is key here, try to add a little crunch in order to get a different texture.
- 6 cups of vegetable stock (warmed in the microwave or left to simmer)
- 1 1/2 cups of barley
- 1 onion minced
- 1 cup of frozen or fresh peas
- 1 cup of grated Parmesan
- 1 cup of white wine (optional)
- 1 rind of Parmesan
- 2 cloves of garlic minced
- 2 tbsp of unsalted butter
- zest of 1 lemon
- salt and pepper to taste
- toasted cashews and/or minced green onions as garnish (optional)
- pinch of pepper flakes (optional)