Tag: risotto

Barley Risotto

Barley Risotto


This month’s recipe is nothing more than a classic risotto. However, rather than using the standard arborio rice (or one of its short-grained relatives), we substitute with the whole-grain pearl barley. The substitution results in a delicious risotto with a pleasant texture and a higher amount of protein and fiber than the traditional version. The preparation is fairly simple, but it requires constant attention.  Under-cooking it will leave it raw and brittle, while over-cooking will result in a mushy consistency resembling oatmeal. You are looking for just a slight crunch. The recipe serves 8.


  •          2 cups mushrooms, sliced
  •          1/2 large onion, diced
  •          2 cloves garlic minced
  •          2 tablespoons olive oil
  •          1 cup pearl barley
  •          1/2 cup white wine
  •          4 cups vegetable stock
  •          1/4 cup Parmesan, Pecorino or Manchego
  •          1 tablespoon fresh thyme, chopped
  •          salt and pepper to taste


  1. Use the mushrooms of your choice. I generally like to do a mix of whatever is available – usually a blend of button, portabello, cremini and shitake.
  2. Bring the stock to a boil in a pot and reduce to low or turn off.
  3. In a separate large pot, saute the mushrooms and the onion in the olive oil at medium-high heat for about 5 minutes, until soft and beginning to brown. Add the garlic and continue sautéing for another minute. Season the vegetables with a pinch of salt and pepper and add more olive oil if needed.
  4. Add the bulgur wheat, stir thoroughly to incorporate into the mushrooms, onions and garlic, and then add the white wine, stirring continuously until almost all is evaporated.
  5. Using a ladle, add the stock about 1 cup at a time. When almost all of the liquid is evaporated, add more while stirring continuously. The mixture should be neither dry nor soupy. Adjust heat as needed – a little more to reduce, a little less to keep from sticking or burning on the bottom.
  6. Once all of your stock has been used up, reduce the heat to low and begin tasting your barley. You should be about 20 minutes into the cooking process by now, and you want the risotto to be tender with just a slight crunch. If you are not there yet and you are out of stock, then you can continue with a cup of water.
  7. Add the thyme, cheese, salt and pepper to finish.

Nutrition Facts:

Calories: 165 / Fat: 4g / Saturated Fat: 1g / Carbohydrates: 26g / Fiber: 4g / Protein: 6g


Red Pepper and Sage Risotto


Most people think of risotto as a treat eaten only rarely, at nice restaurants. However, it is fairly easy to make at home, and it is hearty enough to have as a main course at meal time. The possibilities with risotto are endless, but it can be perfected with just a few simple ingredients. Enjoy this with a salad or some fresh vegetables; I recommend grilled asparagus. This recipe makes 12 servings.

1 red pepper
1 medium yellow onion, finely diced
2 tablespoons olive oil
3 cloves garlic, minced
2 cups Arborio rice
1/2 cup white wine
6-8 cups vegetable stock
5 sage leaves, sliced thinly (chiffonade)
Salt and pepper to taste
1 tablespoon butter
3/4 cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese

1. Saute the pepper and onion in the olive oil in a large heavy-bottomed sauce pot at medium-high heat until it begins to become clear and and translucent. Then add the garlic and continue stirring for 1 minute before adding the rice. Stir the rice around the pot to coat it in the fat and then add the white wine and stir until most of it has evaporated. Meanwhile, have the stock heating up in another pan nearby on the stove.
2. Add a couple of ladles of the stock to the rice. Stir constantly, continuously adding the stock 1 ladle at a time as it disappears in the rice and/or evaporates. Adjust heat so that it is not cooking too rapidly, but a good, quick simmer is desirable. Continue this method for about 15-20 minutes, until all of the stock is gone.
3. Lower the heat or briefly remove from the stove and test whether the risotto is done by spooning up a grain of rice and biting into it. It should be tender, but not mushy; if it is still crunchy and tastes a bit starchy, then it needs to be cooked more. Simply heat up 2-3 more cups of stock. Don’t freak out if you have run out. Hot water will work fine.
4. Once finished, the risotto will have a creamy consistency, somewhat similar to oatmeal. Now, generously add salt, pepper, butter, Parmesan cheese, and the sage. Serve immediately in warm bowls with a little extra Parmesan and sage as a garnish.

Nutrition Facts: Calories: 180 / Fat: 5g / Saturated Fat: 2g / Carbohydrates: 41g / Fiber: 3g / Protein: 3g

Enjoy with Asparagus:

Asparagus is an excellent source of anti-inflammatory vitamin K, heart-healthy folate, vitamin B1, vitamin C, vitamin A (in the form of beta-carotene), and bone-building copper. It is also a very good source of energy-producing vitamin B2 and B3 as well as phosphorus; heart-healthy potassium, vitamin B6, and dietary fiber; antioxidant-promoting vitamin E and manganese; and muscle-building protein.

Look for rounded asparagus stalks that are neither fat nor twisted. Look for firm, thin stems with deep green or purplish closed tips. The cut ends should not be too woody, although a little woodiness at the base prevents the stalk from drying out. Use asparagus within a day or two after purchasing for best flavor and texture. You can store in the refrigerator with the ends wrapped in a damp paper towel.