Barley Vegetable Risotto

What a surprise!

I had leftover cooked barley and found this recipe at:

http://www.planborganicfarms.ca/recipes/veg_risotto_p.html

As a main course, I expected this to be a light, so-so meal. It was so good “the boss” has included it in her file of “Best” recipes.

Preparation Time:                 15 minutes
Cooking Time:                        45 minutes
Makes:                                        9 cups

350 g               pearl barley, about 2 cups (500 mL)
4 cups             water
1-1/2 tsp        salt
2 tbsp             butter
1/2 cup          finely chopped red onion
1                       sweet red pepper, finely chopped
1                       zucchini, chopped
1/4 lb             mushrooms, sliced, about 1 cup (250 mL)
1                       large crushed garlic clove
1/2 cup         white wine
2 to 3 cups   chicken broth or bouillon (500 to 750 mL)
1/4 tsp           each of freshly ground black pepper and hot red pepper flakes
1/2 cup          each of corn kernels and peas, fresh or frozen
1/2 cup          grated Parmesan cheese

Place barley in a large saucepan. Cover with water and add 1/2 teaspoon salt.

Bring to a boil, uncovered, over medium-high heat, stirring occasionally.

Reduce heat to low, partially cover and simmer, stirring occasionally, until barley is tender yet firm, about 30 minutes.

Drain off remaining water, but do not rinse barley.

When barley is cooked, melt butter in a large frying pan set over medium-high heat. When bubbling, add onion, red pepper, zucchini, mushrooms and garlic.

Sauté, stirring often, until onion has softened, about 3 to 4 minutes.

Add wine, 2-1/2 cups broth, remaining 1 teaspoon salt, pepper, hot red pepper flakes and drained barley.

Bring to a boil, stirring often.

Then, boil gently, stirring often, until barley has a creamy texture, about 10 minutes.

If mixture seems dry, stir in some of remaining broth as needed.

Stir in corn, peas and Parmesan.

Heat just until vegetables are hot, about 2 minutes, stirring frequently.

Serve with a loaf of crusty bread and a green salad.

If serving as a main dish, add more Parmesan.

Covered and refrigerated, risotto will keep well for up to 3 days.

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