Lemony Gold Beet Barley Risotto

October 2nd, 2011 § 0 comments § permalink

Serves 6

Barley replaces the traditional Arborio rice here for a textured, nutty-tasting whole-grain risotto. Soaking the barley overnight reduces its cooking time. Gold beets have a sweet, mellow flavor. When roasted with the skin intact, their beautiful color is preserved. Wait to salt the risotto until you’ve added the ricotta salata; as the name implies, it is quite salty. This aged ricotta does not melt, but instead retains a pleasant firm chewiness.


2 gold beets
2 teaspoons lemon zest
1 tablespoon plus 1 teaspoon freshly squeezed lemon juice
6 tablespoons olive oil, plus more for serving
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
4 cups vegetable or chicken stock
1 yellow onion, finely diced
1 cup pearled barley, soaked in water overnight in the refrigerator
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 cup white wine
1¼ cups crumbled ricotta salata


Preheat the oven to 400°.

Wash and trim the beets, leaving a little of the stems so that you do not cut into the beets themselves. Put the beets in a casserole dish with 3 tablespoons water. Cover tightly and roast until the beets are very tender, about 45 minutes. When cool, pull off and discard the skins. Finely chop the beets. Add them to a bowl with the zest, lemon juice, 3 tablespoons of the olive oil, and a dash of salt. Set aside.

Pour the stock into a pot and bring to a boil. Decrease the heat to a simmer.
Heat a large soup pot over medium-high heat. Add the remaining 3 tablespoons olive oil, then the onion, and sauté until translucent. Remove the barley from the soaking water, then add the barley and garlic to the soup pot and sauté for 1 minute. Stir in the wine and cook until evaporated, about 2 minutes.

Ladle a cup of stock into the risotto and stir until the liquid is absorbed. Repeat, adding the stock 1 cup at a time, until the barley is tender. This will take about 30 minutes. Reserve ¼ cup of the stock to stir into the risotto at the end. When the barley is tender, stir in all but a few tablespoons of the beets and cook for 1 minute. Turn off the heat and fold in 1 cup of the ricotta and the remaining stock.

Serve the risotto with a little olive oil spooned on top. Top with the remaining ricotta and the reserved diced beets. Season with black pepper.

Copyright © by Louisa Shafia. All rights reserved.

Barley Risotto with Kale and Sausage

November 9th, 2010 § 0 comments § permalink

Serves 6


4 cups chicken broth
Olive oil
3 cloves garlic, chopped fine
1 medium red onion, chopped
3 sweet sausages
1 tablespoon fennel seeds, toasted
1 bunch dinosaur kale, chopped coarse
1½ cups barley
¼ cup Asiago cheese, grated
1 tablespoon butter
Salt and pepper, to taste


In a medium sized saucepot heat chicken broth until warm and simmer while making risotto. In a separate medium-sized saucepot add olive oil and sauté garlic and onion, 5 minutes. Then crumble in sausages and add fennel seeds, sauté until sausage is cooked, 5 to 7 minutes, remove sausage and fennel seeds from pot and set aside. Next, add kale and sauté until wilted, 3 to 5 minutes. Add barley and ½ cup broth, reduce liquid and then add another ½ cup broth every 7 minutes or until barley is cooked through and tender, about 20 to 25 minutes. Add sausage and fennel seeds back to pot and combine. Remove the pot from heat and finish with cheese and butter. Season with salt and pepper and serve.

Herbed Beef Barley Stew

October 8th, 2010 § 0 comments § permalink

Serves 6-8


Olive oil, for sautéing
2 tablespoons butter
2 medium yellow onions, chopped medium
3-4 cloves garlic, chopped fine
1 pound beef stew meat, cut into 2 inch cubes and pre-seasoned with salt & pepper
½ cup fresh thyme, chopped
¼ cup fresh rosemary, chopped
½ cup fresh flat leaf parsley, chopped
1 cup fresh dill, chopped
3 large carrots, cut into 1 inch chunks
4 celery stalks, chopped
1 cup brown mushrooms, chopped
3 fresh bay leaves
1 cup white wine
2 cups beef stock
1 pound beef shank bones
½ cup pearled barley


In heavy stew pan over medium-high heat, add olive oil and butter. Sauté onions and garlic for about 3-4 minutes or until soft and semi translucent. Add cubed stew meat and sauté until browned. Add ⅓ of each of the herbs and stir, next add the carrots and celery, sauté for another few minutes and then add mushrooms and sauté a few more minutes while all liquid is absorbed by the mushrooms. Drop in the bay leaves. Add wine and stir well while loosening all the bits that stuck to the bottom of the pan and add another ⅓ of all the herbs. Add beef stock and beef shanks. Simmer on low heat for about 30 minutes, stirring a few times. Add pearled barley and simmer for another 20-30 minutes or until barley is tender and to desired consistency. Season with salt and pepper. Sprinkle in remaining herbs and take off heat, let stand for about 10 minutes before serving.

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