Friday, January 8, 2010

Lemon Barley Risotto

I was looking to experiment with barley, in order to diversify my grain intake, and this sounded like a good option, from 101 Cookbooks.

3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
1 yellow onion, chopped
1 cebolla verdeo, grande (giant giant green onion), chopped
3 cloves garlic, chopped
1 teaspoon fine-grainsalt
2 cups lightly pearled barley
1 cup white wine
5 1/2 cups whey (I had it on hand, water or stock work as well)
Grated zest of 3 lemons (more to taste if you like)
1/2 cup Parmesan cheese
1/2 cup cream
3 big handfuls of greens, chopped

Heat the olive oil in a large, heavy saucepan over medium heat, then add the onions, shallots, garlic, and salt and saute, stirring constantly, for about 4 minutes, or until the onion begins to soften.

Add the barley to the pot and stir until coated with a nice sheen, then add the white wine and simmer for 3 or 4 minutes, until the barley has absorbed the liquid a bit. Adjust the heat to maintain a gentle, active simmer.

In increments, add about 6 cups of water or stock, 1 cup at a time, letting the barley absorb most of the liquid between additions; this should take around 40 minutes altogether. Stir regularly so the grains on the bottom of the pan don't scorch. You will know when the barley is cooked because it won't offer up much resistance when chewing (it will, however, be chewier than Arborio rice).

When the barley is tender remove the pot from heat. Stir in the lemon zest, Parmesan, and cream. Taste and adjust - add more salt if needed, more lemon zest. Then stir in the greens. Garnish with toasted pine nuts and a dusting of extra Parmesan before serving.

Easily serves 4 to 6.

Comments: I need to learn to halve recipes! Of course, it says quite clearly it makes a lot of servings. Anyway, it was good, but not mind-blowing. I made a side of beets and paneer, and ended up mixing them in. I’ll definitely pursue the risotto idea, but not this specific recipe. Maybe this one?

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