To the excess time issue, one thing you can do with Barley is par cook it before starting the risotto procedure. Basically boil it for 15 - 20 minutes and then drain in a colander. While doing that, heat the stock, and start the onions/garlic/mushrooms/etc., in the risotto pan. Drain the Barley and continue from there. With Barley it's unlikely you will notice any difference in texture or consistency by the time you're done. I got that trick from a Mario Batali Orzotto recipe. It still will probably require 30+ minutes to get this totally cooked after par cooking. Keep adding liquid and tasting until you get the correct done-ness. Risotto can take forever sometimes.
Barley Risotto with Eggplant and Tomatoes
Photo: Photo: Randy Mayor
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Amount per serving
- Calories: 453
- Fat: 20.3g
- Saturated fat: 4.2g
- Monounsaturated fat: 9.9g
- Polyunsaturated fat: 4.6g
- Protein: 14.5g
- Carbohydrate: 57.5g
- Fiber: 15.5g
- Cholesterol: 7mg
- Iron: 3.4mg
- Sodium: 697mg
- Calcium: 93mg
- 6 cups (1/2-inch) diced eggplant
- 1 pint cherry tomatoes
- 3 tablespoons olive oil, divided
- 1/2 teaspoon black pepper, divided
- 5 cups fat-free, less-sodium chicken broth
- 2 cups water
- 1 1/2 cups finely chopped onion
- 1 cup uncooked pearl barley
- 2 teaspoons minced garlic
- 1/2 cup dry white wine
- 1/4 teaspoon salt
- 1/2 cup (2 ounces) crumbled soft goat cheese
- 1/4 cup thinly sliced fresh basil
- 1/4 cup pine nuts, toasted
- 1. Preheat oven to 400°.
- 2. Combine eggplant, tomatoes, 2 tablespoons oil, and 1/4 teaspoon pepper in a bowl; toss to coat. Arrange mixture in a single layer on a jelly-roll pan. Bake at 400° for 20 minutes or until tomatoes begin to collapse and eggplant is tender.
- 3. Combine broth and 2 cups water in a medium saucepan; bring to a simmer (do not boil). Keep warm over low heat.
- 4. Heat remaining 1 tablespoon oil in a large nonstick skillet over medium-high heat. Add onion to pan; sauté 4 minutes or until onion begins to brown. Stir in barley and garlic; cook 1 minute. Add wine; cook 1 minute or until liquid almost evaporates, stirring constantly. Add 1 cup broth mixture to pan; bring to a boil, stirring frequently. Cook 5 minutes or until liquid is nearly absorbed, stirring constantly. Add remaining broth mixture, 1 cup at a time, stirring constantly until each portion of broth mixture is absorbed before adding the next (about 40 minutes total). Gently stir in eggplant mixture, remaining 1/4 teaspoon pepper, and salt. Top with cheese, basil, and nuts.
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