Barley Risotto With Leeks and Peas

Quite simply, I love barley whether in soups or a casserole or in my version of barley risotto. It is creamy and dare I say it, “good for you”.

Makes 4 – 6 Servings

1 cup pearl barley, placed in a bowl & covered with cold water for up to 6 hours
1 cup leeks, cleaned & chopped or sliced**
1 cup fresh shelled peas, blanched** or frozen peas, thawed
4 Tbsp. butter
¼ cup white wine
¼ – ½ cup Parmigiano Reggiano, finely grated
2 tsp. flat leaf parsley, finely chopped
1 Tbsp. chives, chopped
6 cups low salt chicken broth or homemade stock**

Drain the barley. Bring the chicken broth to a simmer and keep it hot. Heat a sauté pan over medium heat and add the butter. When melted & hot add the leeks and sauté until soft.

Add the white wine and cook until almost none remains. Add the barley and sauté for 1 minute. Begin by adding 2 cups of broth; stirring frequently, until thickened and some of the broth has been absorbed. Continue cooking in this manner, adding broth 1 cup at a time, letting each addition be partially absorbed before adding more. Test the barley for doneness after 20 minutes.  Continue adding the broth 1 cup at a time until barley is cooked. The risotto will take up to 10 to 20 minutes longer. When it is almost done, add the peas and cook until they are hot. Stir in the cheese, 2 Tbsp. butter, chives, parsley, salt & pepper to taste. Let risotto stand 5 minutes before serving in bowls.

**Variations: Stir in some chopped proscuitto while the risotto is resting. Add blanched, ½” thick slices of asparagus when adding the peas would be a nice also.

**If you would like to see how to prepare the vegetables, please go to Blanching Vegetables.

**If you would like to see how to prepare stock, please go to Making Stock.

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