While true risottos are made with rice, the chewy kernels of pearled barley with their creamy exteriors make an excellent substitute. The outer hulls of pearled barley have been removed, allowing each grain to release surface starch as it cooks, which results in a silky sauce.
1/2 teaspoon dried thyme
1/4 teaspoon crumbled saffron
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 cup sliced and well-rinsed leeks*
2 garlic cloves, minced or pressed
1 cup pearled barley
1/2 cup dry white wine
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/3 to 1/2 cup grated Parmesan cheese
Warm the oil in a medium saucepan. Add the leeks and garlic and sauté on medium heat until softened, about 5 minutes. Stir in the barley and toss to coat it with oil. Add the wine and cook, stirring often, until the wine is absorbed.
Add the hot stock and bring to a boil; then cover and reduce the heat to low. Cook the barley, stirring every 5 minutes or so, until the stock is absorbed and the barley is al dente, about 30-35 minutes. Add a little more stock or water if the barley is too chewy for your taste. Add the salt and 1/4 cup of Parmesan and stir until the cheese melts.
Serve at once, passing more cheese at the table, if desired.
Ease of Preparation: Easy
Preparation Time: 15 min
Cook Time: 1 hr
Recipe By: Moosewood Collective
From: Moosewood Restaurant New Classics: 350 recipes for homestyle favorites and everyday feasts
Used with permission of Moosewood, Inc.