I made this fabulous "risotto" yesterday with our Easter lamb (topped with sauteed ramps) and I couldn't have been more pleased with the results. None of us missed the rice at all and manly, who is not a big fan of regular risotto, loved it this way. I found the recipe in this month's Whole Living magazine and they said that by using barley instead of arborio rice the amount of iron and fiber is greatly increased and that the amount of protein found in a cup of the peas used is more than that of a large egg. All I know is that it was delicious and I didn't have to stir it for 22 minutes straight. Win-Win! Enjoy!
Recipe: Spring Barley Risotto
Serves 4 as an entree, at least 8 as a side dish
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 cup pearled barley
2 leeks, white and light-green parts only, thinly sliced
1/2 cup dry white wine or water
Coarse salt and freshly ground pepper
14 1/2 ounces vegetable broth
1 bunch asparagus (about 1 pound), trimmed and cut on bias into 2-inch pieces
1 box (10 ounces) frozen peas, defrosted
1/2 cup fresh grated Parmesan
1/4 cup thinly sliced mint leaves, plus small leaves for garnish
In a large saucepan, heat oil over medium. Add barley and leeks; cook until beginning to soften, 5 to 7 minutes. Add wine; cook until evaporated, about 5 minutes. Add 2 cups water; bring to a boil and season with salt and pepper. Reduce heat; simmer until liquid absorbs, about 10 minutes.
Add broth and continue to cook, stirring occasionally, until barley is tender and creamy, about 10 minutes. Add asparagus; cook until tender, about 5 minutes. Stir in peas until heated through. Add Parmesan and mint; season with salt and pepper. Garnish with mint leaves.