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Karry Hosford Photo by: Karry Hosford

Barley Risotto with Fennel and Olives

Oil-cured olives have a wrinkled appearance and pleasant bitter, rich flavor. Substitute any other olive, if desired. You can also make this risotto with Arborio rice instead of barley. Save the feathery, flowery tips of the fennel bulb to chop and use as a garnish.

Cooking Light AUGUST 2004

  • Yield: 4 servings (serving size: 3/4 cup)


  • 1 tablespoon butter
  • 1 1/2 cups chopped leek, divided
  • 1 cup finely chopped fennel bulb, divided
  • 1/2 cup finely chopped red bell pepper
  • 3/4 cup uncooked pearl barley
  • 1 teaspoon fresh or 1/4 teaspoon dried thyme
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced
  • 3 1/2 cups fat-free, less-sodium chicken broth, divided
  • 1/2 cup dry white wine
  • 1/3 cup (about 1 1/2 ounces) grated fresh Parmesan cheese
  • 1/4 cup chopped fresh parsley
  • 1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • 1/4 cup oil-cured olives, pitted and chopped
  • Chopped fennel fronds (optional)


Melt butter in a large saucepan over medium-high heat. Add 3/4 cup leek, 1/2 cup fennel, and bell pepper; sauté 5 minutes or until tender. Add barley, thyme, and garlic; cook 2 minutes, stirring constantly. Stir in 2 cups broth, and cook 10 minutes or until liquid is nearly absorbed, stirring constantly. Stir in remaining 3/4 cup leek, 1/2 cup fennel, 1 1/2 cups broth, and wine; cook until liquid is nearly absorbed, stirring frequently (about 45 minutes). Stir in the cheese, parsley, and black pepper. Sprinkle with olives; garnish with fennel fronds, if desired.

Nutritional Information

Amount per serving
  • Calories: 255
  • Calories from fat: 26%
  • Fat: 7.5g
  • Saturated fat: 3.8g
  • Monounsaturated fat: 2.4g
  • Polyunsaturated fat: 0.7g
  • Protein: 12.1g
  • Carbohydrate: 36.1g
  • Fiber: 8.2g
  • Cholesterol: 15mg
  • Iron: 3.1mg
  • Sodium: 693mg
  • Calcium: 192mg

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Barley Risotto with Fennel and Olives recipe