Risotto is winter comfort food. Creamy arborio rice grains cooked in stock and seasoned with Parmesan cheese.
I like my risottos cooked with butter and olive oil. The butter helps create a creamy result and the olive oil flavour. I always add a little grated Parmesan towards the end of cooking and a good grating when I serve it.
My mouth salivates at the thought of risotto now, however my hips do not feel the same excitement.
While a delicious risotto is enjoyable every now and then, a healthier option is needed for the colder weeknights when comfort food is needed.
Pearl barley is a hulled barley. It has a mild nutty flavour and while tasting great is high in fibre and lowers cholesterol.
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 onion, finely chopped
2 garlic cloves, finely chopped
1 cup pearl barley, rinsed
1 cup white wine
5 cups hot chicken stock
200g swiss brown mushrooms, sliced
50g grated Parmesan
2 spring onions, sliced
Melt butter and olive oil in a heavy based saucepan over medium low heat. Add the onion and garlic and cook stirring for 5-8 minutes until soft. Add the barley and cook for 2 minutes, stirring until the grains are all coated and shiny.
Pour in the wine and leave to bubble away until nearly evaporated.
Add stock a ladle at a time, stirring occasionally, until each ladle has been absorbed. Add the mushrooms in the last ladle of stock. Increase the heat to high and cook stirring constantly for 5 minutes.
Take off the heat. Season with salt and pepper.
Stir in the Parmesan and serve scattered with spring onions.