For some reason I don't cook rice very often. I'm a huge risotto fan, but making fluffy brown rice pilafs just aren't my thing. I don't have a rice cooker, and find that it's nearly impossible for me to make a decent pot of rice. It's usually too gummy, too al dente, too wet, stuck to the bottom of the pot, etc. I've seen several recipes in magazines for risottos made with barley, which is marginally healthier than brown rice, and much healthier than white rice.
This recipe came together really easily, and was perfect for a cool Autumn evening. I used some fresh Rosemary from my herb garden, but sage or thyme would compliment the dish as well. If you like your risottos especially creamy, you can add a splash of cream. This recipe can be multiplied easily, this made two dinner portions.
Barley and Butternut Squash Risotto
1 tsp. EVOO
1 tsp. butter
1 small yellow onion, minced
1 garlic clove, minced
1.5 lbs. butternut squash
Kosher salt and pepper
2/3 c. pearled barley
1/4 c. dry white wine
3 cups vegetable stock, warmed
2 tsp. fresh minced rosemary
1/2 c. grated Parmesan cheese
Add vegetable stock to a stockpot, heat over medium-low.
Heat a deep skillet over medium heat.
Add EVOO and butter, swirl together and melt.
Add onion, garlic and squash, season with salt and pepper, sweat for 2-3 minutes.
Add barley, toss and sauté for a minute.
Add the white wine, reduce and stir well.
Add 1/2 c. stock, cover and simmer for 10 minutes, until absorbed.
Ladle in 1/3 c. of stock, stir and cook until absorbed uncovered.
Continue to add stock 1/3 c. at a time, cooking and stirring.
When barley is plump and tender, stir in the rosemary and Parmesan.
Plate and garnish with additional rosemary.