Tuesday, September 13, 2011

Wild Mushroom Barley Risotto

A chill is in the air, and risotto season is here once again!  There is nothing I love more than sitting down to a bowl of creamy comfort food for dinner on a chilly day, or just when I am craving a food hug.  A few years ago when I first discovered the deliciousness of risotto, I would make it about 3 times a week in the cool months, not even counting the sweet risotto dessert I would make quite often.  It was something that I would come home from work wanting, so creamy and rich, and the best part was I could make it with whatever I had on hand and in my pantry.  Arborio rice is so delicious when cooked properly and it can be made very rich if you are in a naughty mood or veganized if not but still tastes just as delicious!  In the last year however, I have fallen in love with barley risotto.  Hulled barley needs a good soaking before cooking it if you want it to be ready faster, but I feel like I am getting more of a nutritional bang for my buck when I use it in place of the white rice. 

Last weekend when I came across a large selection of local mushrooms at the market, I had to buy them, because in my head I was invisioning a creamy dreamy mushroom risotto!  I thought it would be the perfect thing to make for me and my boyfriend Scott on Sunday for dinner.  I also grabbed some locally grown kale and crimini mushrooms as well as some truffled cheese and I was already looking forward to the deliciousness that would result.  Scott helped me grate the cheese and prepare the kale while I chopped the mushrooms and sauteed the crimini and it was wonderful to actually help me with dinner!  I suppose most of the time I am a control freak and I just do it all myself, but he is rather cute in the kitchen so I welcome his help.  Once the mushrooms were added to the risotto the kitchen was filled with the most wonderful earthy rich aroma...my mouth was watering and I couldn't wait for the barley to finish cooking.  It smelled even better once the truffled cheese had been added and truffle oil had been drizzled over it! 

It was as delicious as it smelled...hearty grains bathed in silky earthy mushroom sauce, dare I say it...heavenly!  Scott enjoyed it as well, even if the kale was a new thing to him.  I always appriciate that he is a good sport with my recipe experiments...luckilly this one was a success!  If you would like to try some, I have included the recipe. 

Wild Mushroom Barley Risotto
Serves 3-4

1 Tbsp olive oil
2 medium shallots, sliced
2 garlic cloves, minced
3/4 cup hulled barley, soaked for at least 2 hours in water
1 tsp dried rosemary
1 tsp dried thyme
1/4 cup white wine
4 cups mushroom (or veggie) stock, heated to almost boiling
sea salt
freshly ground pepper
7 cups assorted mushrooms, sliced
2 cups kale, torn into bite sized pieces
4 oz grated Cacio Di Bosco Tartufo cheese or other truffled cheese, grated (if not available pecorino romano or  parmesan will do)
truffle oil, for finishing
1 oz Cacio Di Bosco Tartufo shaved, for garnish

In a large stockpot, heat 1 Tbsp olive oil over medium heat and add shallots.  Saute until translucent, about 5-7 minutes.  Add garlic, herbs and barley and saute a minute more.  Then add wine, 1 cup of stock, and sea salt and pepper to taste.  Let simmer and stir occasionally until the barley has absorbed most of the liquid.  Add another cup of stock, and let absorb.  Repeat with remaining stock, and when last cup has been added, add mushrooms and allow to cook until they are tender.  Add kale and cook until wilted and bright green.  Add shredded cheese, stir in and allow to melt, then taste for seasoning and add salt if needed.  When barley is tender and most of the liquid is absorbed, spoon into bowls, drizzle with truffle oil, and top with the shaved cheese. 


Lizzy said...

Oh, Amy, this looks incredible!!! All those great flavors and barley..yum, yum!

Stephanie @ Eat. Drink. Love. said...

I'm a sucker for a good risotto and yours looks so good! I love all those mushrooms. It all looks so flavorful!

Happy When Not Hungry said...

I love barley. This looks amazing!

Christine's Pantry said...

Love risotto... yours looks wonderful.

Julia said...

My husband LOVES mushroom risotto, and I appreciate that it's vegetarian :) Perfect as the weather is cooling down.

RavieNomNoms said...

Mushroom risotto is one of my absolute favorites! It is amazing...