As we all know, “risotto” is a typical italian dish made with rice. You need to use a short grain rice that is quite starchy, like Arborio, Carnaroli, Vialone Nano . . .
Risotto is also the way the rice is cooked, by adding the liquid to the pot of rice as it is absorbed while stirring frequently.
What I did last night is make a “risotto” using pearled barley instead of rice !!
. . . so here are the details. ..
You will need button mushrooms sliced, portobello mushrooms sliced, garlic, olive oil, butter, parmesan cheese, some red wine, and stock (I used vegetable but meat is good too). . . and some herbs . . . I used thyme leaves
I measured 80g of barley per person and set it to the side. I got a small pot ( I was cooking just for me) of stock on one of the burners and kept it simmering – I use stock cubes for this kind of dish.
In a frying pan I added olive oil and garlic, and let it heat up just enough so that the garlic gives out some of its flavour to the oil. Then I added the portobello mushrooms and let them cook for a few minutes. When they were about ¼ cooked I added the sliced button mushrooms and let them cook, stirring often, until they were about ½ cooked.
I removed the mushrooms from the pan and set them aside in a plate. Without washing the pan I added some more olive oil and returned it to the burner. I poured the pearled barley into the pan and let it toast for a few minutes, then I put the mushrooms back into the pan and deglazed with a bit of red wine. I then started to add the stock, one ladle at a time, stiring well so that all the ingredients are well blended and that no barley is stuck to the sides. Let the barley and mushrooms cook, stirring occasionally, and when the barley has absorbed the stock, add some more. Keep adding stock, and stirring to mix ingredients until the barley is cooked ( I like it al dente . . . ).
When the barley is cooked, taste for salt . . . you probably will not need much because the stock gets boiled down and evaporates and becomes more tasty . . . and add your herbs and some pepper if you like it.
Remove from heat, add a spoon of butter and grate some parmesan cheese on top – stir these in and your barley will become a bit more creamy.
Serve immediately and enjoy the flavour boost !!