This has been a staple risotto recipe in our home for a few years now. The barley in place of rice is pure genius! It combines all the decadent richness of risotto with the earthy textures and flavors of the best fall comfort foods.
After the first couple of bites, I dare you not to dream of curling up fireside under a Pendleton blanket with your favorite furry lapdog. Every spoonful is savory fall perfection.
TAKE YOUR TIME…DRINK THE WINE
Like all risottos, however, this perfect fall recipe requires patience. After the second addition of broth, you might wonder what the hell you were thinking starting this recipe. Will the broth ever absorb? Will you ever be able to stop stirring?
Relax. Not only is this recipe worth the effort, but you also have an entire bottle of white wine to drink while you stir. It’s not a bad way to pass the time in my opinion.
PUT AN EGG ON IT
Recently, I discovered this recipe reheats for an excellent and dare I say healthy-ish breakfast. I was frying up some over easy eggs when I remembered I had leftovers in the fridge. Since veggies are never a bad thing and barley is a healthy grain, I decided to nuke a few scoops in the microwave to up my nutrient game.
Not only was I pleasantly surprised to learn this risotto maintains its deliciousness when reheated, but also the addition of a runny yolk and crispy egg bits results in near culinary perfection. Next time I have overnight guests, you can be sure I’m going to make this in advance in then dazzle them in the morning with this super easy gourmet breakfast.
1 small butternut squash, peeled, seeded and cut into 1-inch cubes
4 tablespoons olive oil
Salt and freshly ground pepper, to taste
4 cups (32 fl. oz.) low-sodium vegetable or chicken broth
2 garlic cloves, minced
2 shallots, minced
1 tablespoon fresh sage, chopped
1 teaspoon fresh thyme, chopped
1 cup (7 oz.) pearl barley
½ cup (4 fl. oz.) dry white wine
⅓ cup (2 oz.) Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese, grated
Preheat an oven to 400°F (200°C). Line an 18” x 13” half sheet pan with parchment paper.
In a bowl, toss the squash with 2 Tbs. of the olive oil. Spread in a single layer on the prepared baking sheet and season well with salt and pepper. Roast, stirring once, until tender and caramelized, 30 to 35 minutes. Set aside.
In a small saucepan over low heat, warm 4 cups of broth.
In a large saucepan over medium heat, warm the remaining 2 Tbs. olive oil. Add the garlic and shallots and cook until softened, about 5 minutes. Add the sage and thyme, and season with salt and pepper. Stir to combine and cook until fragrant, about 1 minute. Add the barley and cook, stirring often, until toasted, about 2 minutes. Add the wine and cook, stirring occasionally, until it is evaporated.
Reduce the heat to medium-low. While continuously stirring, slowly add 1 cup (8 fl. oz./250 ml) of the broth until the liquid is completely absorbed, about 5 minutes. Repeat this process 1 cup at a time with the remaining broth. Allow each addition to be absorbed before adding more.
When the barley is tender and the risotto is creamy, remove from the heat. Stir in the squash and cheese. Season with salt and pepper and serve immediately.
Seriously, serve a fried egg over this for breakfast. It’s next level.