Barley doesn't contain as much starch as rice, so this "risotto," although delicious, is not quite as creamy as traditional recipes.
2 cups boiling water
1/2 ounce dried porcini mushrooms
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 1/2 cups chopped onion
1 (8-ounce) package cremini mushrooms, sliced
5 garlic cloves, minced
2 cups uncooked pearl barley
3 tablespoons brandy
1 3/4 cups water
1 cup fat-free, lower-sodium chicken broth
2 ounces fresh pecorino Romano cheese, divided
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
1/4 cup chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley
How to Make It
Combine 2 cups boiling water and porcini mushrooms; let stand 20 minutes. Drain mushrooms through a sieve over a bowl, reserving liquid. Finely chop mushrooms.
Heat a large Dutch oven over medium-high heat. Add olive oil to pan, and swirl to coat. Add onion; cook for 4 minutes. Add cremini mushrooms, and cook for 5 minutes, stirring occasionally. Add porcini mushrooms and garlic; cook 1 minute, stirring constantly. Add barley; cook 30 seconds, stirring constantly. Add brandy; bring to a boil. Cook until liquid almost evaporates (about 1 minute), stirring occasionally.
Stir in reserved mushroom liquid, 1 3/4 cups water, and broth; bring to a boil. Cover; reduce heat, and simmer 55 minutes or until liquid evaporates and barley is tender, stirring occasionally. Remove from heat. Grate 1/4 cup (1 ounce) cheese; stir grated cheese and salt into barley mixture. Sprinkle with parsley. Shave remaining 1 ounce cheese over top.
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I made this for my family last night for dinner and served it in smaller portions as a side for london broil. The texture and taste were PERFECT. I might add more mushrooms next time, because I'm a big mushroom lover, but otherwise everything was perfectly balanced and delicious. I will definitely be making this again...probably a lot.
Definitely switched around this recipe a bit but the results were delicious! Instead of brandy I used a dry white wine (Sauvignon Blanc) at the beginning as it is more traditional for a risotto. I also cooked this as you would risotto by adding 3/4 cup of liquid (broth mixed with water), stirring until evaporated, then adding another 3/4 cup, and so on until you are out of liquid. This was more labor intensive but worth every second as the result is a creamy, delicious risotto. I also cooked some turkey sausage with the mushrooms so this would be a main dish instead of a side. Both me and my boyfriend loved it. He said from now on to make risotto with barley instead of arborio rice and usually he never opts for the healthier options! Would definitely make this again.
Meh. The barley was a bit bland and it didn't get really creamy which is to be expected because there's not as much starch as rice. Like everyone else said, this makes a TON and sadly my favorite part of this was probably the parsley and the cheese stirred in at the end. Just bland and dry and I think there are better light risotto recipes out there.
This is a low calorie version, so don't expect a creamy rich taste. I think it is a good way to eat whole grains. I used brown rice,because I was out of barely. I liked the mushroom taste. For special occasions, you might want to add some cream and more cheese.
It's just OK - I threw the recipe away. It's super filling and a side-dish only, not a main meal as you get sick of the taste. Used pepper to spice it up. Also, unless you have 8 people to feed cut the recipe in 1/2; leftovers are a good thing but this made way too much & just a 1/2 bowl fills you up.