Baked Barley Risotto With Mushrooms and Carrots
Wholesome and nutty, barley is a superb alternative to arborio rice in this risotto, since it’s naturally plump and chewy when cooked. The grated Parmesan and butter stirred in at the end release the barley’s starches, creating a silky, creamy texture. Make sure to use pearl barley, not hulled, since it cooks much faster and is more tender. As for the mushrooms, white button, cremini and earthy shiitakes are a tasty, accessible mix, though any combination of oyster, king trumpet and maitake would raise the bar. Still, the best thing about this risotto, which is a satisfying vegetarian weeknight dinner (or side to any large roast or fish) is that it’s baked, taking away the pressure of constant stirring at the stove.
- Serves: 4 persons
- 3tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
- ½small white or yellow onion, finely chopped (about 1/2 cup)
- 5garlic cloves, thinly sliced
- 1pound mixed mushrooms, such as white button, cremini and shiitakes, halved if small, quartered if large (about 7 cups total)
- Kosher salt and black pepper
- 10ounces pearl barley (about 1 1/2 cups)
- 1medium carrot, very thinly sliced into rounds (about 1 cup)
- 2ounces grated Parmesan (about 1/2 cup), plus more for serving
- 2tablespoons unsalted butter
- ¼cup chopped chives
Step 1Heat oven to 425 degrees. In a large Dutch oven or heavy pot, heat 2 tablespoons oil over medium. Add onion and garlic, and cook, stirring occasionally, until softened, about 3 minutes. Add mushrooms and remaining 1 tablespoon oil, and season with salt and pepper. Cook, stirring occasionally, until mushrooms start to soften, about 3 minutes.
Step 2Stir in barley, carrot and 4 1/2 cups water, and bring to a boil over high heat. Cover, transfer to the oven and bake until barley is tender and chewy and almost all of the liquid is absorbed, about 30 minutes.
Step 3Stir in Parmesan and the butter until slightly thickened and creamy. Season with salt and pepper.
Step 4Divide among shallow bowls. Sprinkle with chives and more Parmesan, to taste.