Sunday, March 1, 2009
Mushroom Barley Risotto
Mushrooms were on special last week at the grocery store. Each 8-ounce package of organic cremini mushrooms were $1. Score.
I heart mushrooms. They seem to be one of those polarizing foods, though, that people either love or hate with a passion. I love them. My sister, on the other hand, hates them.
The first meal I made with the mushrooms was Mushroom Barley Risotto. In addition to the mushrooms being on sale, I was inspired by this thread on eGullet — cooking from your pantry with no grocery shopping. Now, I don't think I could ever actually do something like that. Mostly because as a single person cooking for one — I usually buy only the produce I need for the week and plan ahead carefully so I'm not wasting anything.
But I'll fully admit there's a random turkey sausage or chicken breast languishing in my freezer and lots of odds and ends of various whole grains chilling out in the pantry. Although I try to buy from the bulk bins so I only buy what I'll use, I still end up with more than I need for a single recipe.
I've had pearl barley in my pantry for a while, and although I love it in soups I rarely put it in anything else. That changed last week. What's better than barley and mushrooms and risotto? Um, not much!
Of course, I was missing any number of ingredients for every recipe I found, so I ended up blending a few together. Here's what I ended up with.
Mushroom Barley Risotto
Serves 3 to 4 (6 points if divided into 3 servings)
4 cups reduced-sodium chicken broth
3 tsp olive oil
1 small onion, chopped
2 tsp fresh sage, chopped
3/4 cup pearl barley
1/3 cup dry red wine
1/2 pound cremini mushrooms
salt and pepper
3 tablespoons freshly grated Parmesan
In a small saucepan, warm the chicken broth until simmering.
In an deep nonstick skillet, heat 1 1/2 tsp olive oil over medium heat. Add the onion and sage and saute until the onion is soft. Add the barley and stir to coat in the oil. Add the wine, stirring until it's almost completely absorbed. Add the hot broth, 1/2 cup at a time, stirring frequently and adding 1/2 cup more of broth each time the previous addition is almost absorbed. This should take about 45 minutes. If the barley is not yet tender and all the broth is gone, add a little water and cook until it is tender.
Meanwhile, heat the remaining oil in a small nonstick skillet over medium-high heat. Add the mushrooms and saute until tender, about 5 minutes. If the mushrooms begin to stick, you can remove them from the heat and spray them with olive oil spray.
When the barley is done, stir in the mushrooms, season with salt and pepper and serve with Parmesan.