Some days you just want a decadent, luscious risotto. You can either put on pants and head to that fancy Italian restaurant and spend $30 on a plate, or you could make it yourself and wonder why the rice is still more crunchy than al dente. But wait. What if there was one simple (and incredibly cheap) substitution you could make to ensure you can have a luxurious risotto without the temperamental rice? Well, I guess since you read the title of the recipe you already know the answer is dried barley. It is far more forgiving than rice, you don't need to hit that perfect sweet spot of doneness. If you walk away and it dries up, just add more stock. So invest that $1 in a bag of barley, and treat yourself to an umptious bowl of happiness.
INGREDIENTS: 1/4 cup butter 3 cups vegetable stock 1/2 yellow onion, diced 4 ounces shiitake mushrooms, sliced
4 ounces baby bella mushrooms, sliced
1/4 dry white wine 2 cloves garlic, smashed
1 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce 2 sage leaves, chopped 1/2 cup barley Shaved Parmesan cheese to taste
Black Hawaiian Sea Salt (optional)
1.) In a deep-sided, large pan melt the butter on medium low heat. In a separate sauce pan bring the stock to a simmer and keep on low. 2.) Add the onion, mushrooms, and garlic to the butter pan and cook until soft, 5-8 minutes. 3.) Stir in sage and barley. Cook for one minute.
4.) Add wine, stir. 5.) Add one cup of stock, and simmer until liquid is absorbed. 6.) Continue adding stock 1/4 cup at a time, allowing each amount of liquid to absorb before adding more, stirring occasionally. 6.) Continue until all the stock is used and barley is done cooking, 30-35 minutes.
7.) Top with fresh shaved parmesan and black sea salt, if desired.
Some of my favorite meat options to top this risotto include:
Sage butter beef tenderloin
Rosemary grilled pork tenderloin
Seared wild boar (No, seriously, this is the way to go.)