Rice, barley, and quinoa give this risotto contrasting textures--creaminess from the rice, chewiness from the barley, and crunch from the quinoa. Flowering herbs make a pretty garnish.
1/8 teaspoon saffron threads, crushed
1 (14-ounce) can fat-free, less-sodium chicken broth
1 tablespoon olive oil
1/4 cup finely chopped shallots (about 2 medium)
1/2 cup uncooked Arborio or other short-grain rice
1/2 cup uncooked quick-cooking barley
1/4 cup uncooked quinoa
1/2 cup dry white wine
1 cup water
1 cup (4 ounces) shredded part-skim mozzarella cheese
2/3 cup 1% low-fat milk
2 teaspoons fresh lemon juice
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
12 asparagus spears, steamed
1 tablespoon pine nuts, toasted
How to Make It
Bring saffron and broth to a simmer in a small saucepan (do not boil). Keep warm over low heat.
Heat oil in a large saucepan over medium-high heat. Add shallots; sauté 3 minutes. Add rice, barley, and quinoa; sauté 2 minutes. Add wine; cook 2 minutes or until liquid is nearly absorbed. Stir in 1 cup water; cook 5 minutes or until liquid is nearly absorbed, stirring constantly. Add broth mixture, 1/2 cup at a time, stirring constantly until each portion of broth mixture is absorbed before adding the next (about 25 minutes total).
Remove from heat; stir in cheese and next 4 ingredients (cheese through pepper). Top with asparagus spears, and sprinkle with pine nuts.
This dish is very tasty and very easy to make. Nice use of the spring asparagus that is in season. I added some edamame at the beginning and stir-fried the asparagus instead, since I like my asparagus on the crisp side of things.