I like risotto. But not in an, I would love to order it in the restaurant in a regular basis. It is more of, hmmm, this looks good today. And that is why I ordered it the other time when mom and I ate out in La Nuova Pasterleria. Eating it made me realize how simple it is to make, how easy. Just some patience, and arborio rice, and it was done! I was researching on another recipe entirely, the spinach barley dish from Two Greedy Italians, when I ran across this. And after having some risotto recently, it seemed a good way to use up leftover barley that I made before, the barley drink. This seemed like a healthier way to make a risotto (is it really? you tell me). But I decided to try it anyway. I used this recipe as a guide, but of course, went on on my own. 🙂
Pearl Barley Mushroom Risotto Recipe
Mushroom Chicken stock
A handful of dried shitake mushroom
1/2 cup of button mushroom
1.5 cups of water or chicken stock
Boil all together and keep warm. Set aside.
4 cloves garlic, minced
200 grams pearl barley
2 tablespoons of cream cheese
1/2 cup grated hard cheese
Saute the garlic in olive oil. Add the pearl barley once the garlic is tender. Treat like regular risotto and add a bit of stock and mix until almost dried up. Add some stock again and repeat until the grains have fully swelled (raw barley is not yummy). Add in the mushrooms from the stock. Add the cream cheese and half of the cheese. Taste and adjust salt if needed. Serve with more cheese and parsley atop.
Note that it is ibest to reheat the risotto using leftover stock. Cold risotto is gummy, and too heavy to eat. Add in a bit of stock and allow to be completely absorbed. One benefit of using barley is that it doesn’t get mushy. The barley holds its shape better. 🙂