Photo: Becky Luigart-Stayner; Styling: Cindy Barr
6 servings (serving size: about 1 cup)

Like risotto in texture but not in cooking method, this one-dish meal's creaminess is underscored with the addition of Taleggio, a soft Italian cheese. You can substitute Brie if you like.

How to Make It

Step 1

Preheat oven to 450°.

Step 2

Combine squash, 1 tablespoon oil, and 1/4 teaspoon salt; toss well to coat. Arrange squash mixture in a single layer on a baking sheet. Bake at 450° for 25 minutes, stirring once.

Step 3

Heat 1 tablespoon oil in a large Dutch oven over medium-high heat. Add mushrooms; sauté 5 minutes or until browned, stirring occasionally. Transfer mushroom mixture to a bowl; keep warm.

Step 4

Heat remaining 1 tablespoon oil in pan. Add onion; saut´´ 4 minutes or until tender, stirring occasionally. Add barley and garlic; cook 1 minute, stirring constantly. Add wine; bring to a boil. Cook 3 minutes or until liquid is nearly absorbed. Add broth, remaining 1/2 teaspoon salt, and pepper; bring to a boil. Cover, reduce heat, and simmer 30 minutes or until barley is tender and liquid is nearly absorbed. Remove from heat; add cheese, stirring until cheese melts. Stir in squash, mushrooms, and thyme. Serve immediately.

Step 5

Wine note: The 2008 J Lohr Riverstone Chardonnay (California, $15) is a buttery, beautiful partner for this creamy-textured risotto. Tropical fruit notes, ripe pear, melon, and vanilla aromas combine for a wine that will embrace the rich flavors in this dish. --Natalia MacLean

Ratings & Reviews

BlueeyedSara7's Review

March 08, 2014
Very flavorful and I followed the recipe exactly but it took way longer than 30 minutes to reduce the liquid with the pot covered. After I hit the 45 minute mark, I took the lid off.

LaurenEve's Review

June 21, 2011
This dish was fabulous! I substituted apple juice for the white wine and used fat free, low sodium chicken broth in place of the vegetable broth. I also cut the dish in half, since I was making it for just my boyfriend and me. I did not experience the same problems with cooking off the liquid that other reviewers had. I actually did not even need to cook the barley the entire 30 minutes - it softened and the liquid boiled off within 10-15 minutes. Maybe if I had made the full recipe I would have needed the entire 30 minutes. The combination of flavors was outstanding. I will definitely add this to my recipe rotation.

Zamboni's Review

May 23, 2011
My boyfriend and I really enjoyed this recipe. I have to say, I loved the Tellagio cheese (had never had it before) and feel like it really added a ton of depth to the recipe. I followed it pretty much exact (but I used chicken broth instead of veggie because that's what I had on hand) and we really loved it. What a great and filling vegetarian option. My barley took a little bit longer than 30 minutes, but not much (maybe 40 minutes) to soak up the broth. We will make this one again. Yummy.

ChefAmandaLynn's Review

March 25, 2011
I loved this, the yummyness of risotto, but made with a wholesome whole grain. I did make a few modifications. It took the entire 30 minutes to absorb the broth UNCOVERED, would have took all day had I covered it as the recipe stated. I used parmesaen cheese and mushroom broth.

apuckley's Review

March 27, 2010
Loved this -- Substituted Monterey Jack cheese because that's what I already had, but it came out great. I don't know what makes this "risotto" by any stretch, but it's way healthier; both hearty and sort of light.

rachealkane's Review

March 23, 2010
I made this recipe as is - maybe slightly less cheese than was called for, but pretty close. My husband and I had never tried this cheese and found it to be perfect with the butternut squash and shiitake mushrooms. I will definitely make this again.

Jules8917's Review

March 12, 2010
Overall, this was a very good recipe. My biggest issue was that the recipe stated that the barley would take about 30 minutes to absorb all of the liquid. Maybe it was the barley I bought, but it took about 75 for my batch to absorb the liquid. I also agree with the other readers that half as much cheese could be used. The taste of the tallegio is very strong and overwhelms the other flavors. Plus it saves a few calories!

dorda1025's Review

March 08, 2010
Great recipe. However I would add less cheese than recommended. I used Fontina because the Telaggio was too strong. I found both at Whole Foods. Definitly cut the cheese in half though. It over powered the delicious recipe.

luvlelwyr's Review

March 02, 2010
This recipe was excellent! I admit that I did not add the thyme because I didn't have it on hand, but Thyme usually goes well with butternut squash. I also admit I did not add the mushrooms because I'm allergic. However, I was making it only to divvy up into containers for bringing to work with me, but I ended up eating a bunch of it anyway (nevermind that I had already eaten!). My husband loved it too. I couldn't wait to have lunch today! I do think sauteing everything before adding the barley and letting the white wine be absorbed first is key to the flavor.

Kendalyn's Review

March 01, 2010
I liked this well enough but my husband asked me not to make it again. It was a little too earthy for him he said. If I did make it again for myself, I wouldn't add the thyme at the end. It had a very strong flavor and I found myself eating around it most of the time.