Photo: Photo: Randy Mayor
4 servings (serving size: 1 1/4 cups risotto, 2 tablespoons cheese, 1 tablespoon basil, and 1 tablespoon nuts)

How to Make It

Step 1

Preheat oven to 400°.

Step 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.

Step 3

Combine broth and 2 cups water in a medium saucepan; bring to a simmer (do not boil). Keep warm over low heat.

Step 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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Ratings & Reviews

Jestep's Review

March 04, 2013
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.

pdxcook's Review

February 26, 2012
excellent dish. Agree with other reviews though that it did take much longer and required a little more liquid. Also took another reviewer's suggestion and substituted a couple cups of chopped mushrooms since I was a little short on the eggplant. Also used 14 oz can of diced tomatoes strained, added juice to broth. Really tasty, fresh basil, goat cheese and pine nuts at end make the dish.

Kate09's Review

November 08, 2011
This is awesome! Make it exactly as written. The flavors blend beautifully.

dlk1217's Review

September 04, 2011
This was a very tasty risotto. I like the fact that the barley has a bit more texture (and fiber!) than the usual arborio rice. I didn't have quite enough eggplant, so I added some quartered cremini mushrooms to the roasting pan. I also stirred in some baby spinach at the same time as the cheese, basil, and pine nuts. Of course risotto is going to be time-consuming, but it's worth it. While you don't have to stir it *constantly* once you start adding the broth, the more you stir it (and here, let me say, definitely use all the liquid), the creamier it is going to be.

Micarty's Review

September 05, 2010
Essentially we agree with all the other reviews - taste was really great, but boy, this is a lot of work (you can't just throw things together and walk away). Given how much we liked it, I think we will definitely put this on our "make again" rotation, and may take into account some of the substitution suggestions. As the first reviewer said, the pine nuts were essential to the flavor of the dish. I doubled them, and will do so again the next time we make this.

audra09's Review

June 28, 2010
In spite of the barley tasting like it wasn't thoroughly cooked, it was delicious. It took well over the 45 minutes stated in the recipe and it was still crunchy. I had it on medium heat the whole time... Anyone else have that problem - or maybe a suggestion to assure it softens?

joeymaggiesmom's Review

November 02, 2009
I'm always looking for new eggplant recipes and thought this one sounded different. It was really, really good and well worth the time it takes to make the risotto. I had never heard of making risotto with barley before, but the finished product was very creamy! We didn't have goat cheese, so used feta instead.

CarlaBo's Review

October 18, 2009
My husband couldn't stop raving about this one (usually he has no strong opinions on dinner). We made it without pine nuts (none on hand) and used dried parsley instead of fresh. Can't wait to try it when I have all ingredients on hand. Time consuming but not difficult. Good for weekend meal.

skigirlbikegirl's Review

October 13, 2009
This was worth the time it took to make it. I used feta and toasted pecans instead of goat cheese and pine nuts because that is what I had in the house and it was SO SO GOOD. I served a garden salad with it. It heated up very nicely the next day for a yummy lunch. I wonder if if would work in the crock pot...the barley part only?? You could use veggie broth and no cheese and make it vegan.

busycook1976's Review

October 05, 2009
Wow. I LOVED the way this turned out. I'm inspired to try variations in the roasted vegetables, maybe next time I'll try roasted butternut squash and shitake mushrooms, and use sage instead of basil. The eggplant/tomato combo was fantastic. This dish was bursting with flavor. I used wheatberries instead of barley and it was great - definitely took a long time to absorb the liquid, though.