Recently, my friend Kristin at Brooklyn Forager blogged about her Red Wine Risotto recipe, and it sounded so good it immediately went on my “to make soon” list. When I finally had a chance to make it, I was torn – it sounded perfect as is, but, if you recall, the last time I blogged about risotto I swore off arborio rice in favor of the much more nutrient packed pearled barley. And so, despite the box of arborio rice sitting right in my pantry, I decided healthfulness would win and reached for the barley instead! The only other change I made was to use half an onion instead of the shallot because that was what I had on hand.
The result was really yummy, although I think the barley worked a little better in the veggie risotto recipe because the flavor of the barley is strong, so we didn’t get the full effect of the red wine. Although it did still have beautiful color, and hubby and I both thoroughly enjoyed it served with marinated flank steak (recipe to come soon!). One thing I didn’t mention the last time, though, is that barley takes a LONG time to cook! I think it took over an hour for the risotto, but that is not all active time. While it was cooking I managed to empty the diswasher and prep muffins (more to come on that, soon, too!), and I could have definitely done more in the kitchen had I been so motivated. So my recommendation if you’re short on time (and who isn’t??) is to have some other kitchen activities planned while the risotto is cooking since really all it needs is a stir and the addition of more broth every few minutes.
Red Wine Barley Risotto
adapted from Brooklyn Forager
3 cups low-sodium chicken broth
1 tablespoon butter
1/2 small onion, minced
1 clove garlic, minced
3/4 cup pearled barley
3/4 cup red wine
1/2 cup frozen peas
1/4 cup freshly grated Parmesan or Pecorino Romano
Salt and pepper, to taste (I used Romano, which I thought took care of saltiness, but did add several grinds of black pepper)
Bring chicken stock to a simmer on the back of the stove.
Melt butter in a small/medium pot. Add garlic and onion and cook until fragrant. Add barley and toss to completely coat in the butter mixture. Let cook for a minute, stirring constantly, and then add red wine. Stir until wine has reduced almost completely.
Add 1/2 cup chicken stock and stir. Stir every couple of minutes until it is almost absorbed, and repeat with remaining broth until barley is cooked through but still has a little bit of chewiness.
Stir in peas, cheese and seasoning. Serve with additional cheese if desired.
Makes 2-3 servings