Barley risotto, also known as “barlotto,” is a delightful and nutritious twist on the traditional Italian rice-based risotto. Instead of using Arborio or Carnaroli rice, this version incorporates barley as the main grain. It offers a unique texture and nutty flavour that pairs well with various ingredients and seasonings. Barley risotto is not only delicious but also comes with several health benefits. Let’s dive into a full description, its health benefits, serving tips, and some popular variations.
About this recipe
Barley risotto begins with pearled barley, a type of barley that has been processed to remove its tough outer husk. The pearling process leaves behind a chewy, nutritious grain that cooks relatively quickly. Similar to traditional risotto, the dish starts with sautéing aromatics like onions and garlic in olive oil or butter. Then, the barley is added and toasted for a few minutes to enhance its flavour.
Next, a flavorful liquid such as vegetable or chicken broth is gradually added and absorbed by the barley, creating a creamy consistency.
Additional ingredients like vegetables, herbs, cheese, and protein can be incorporated to elevate the dish’s taste and nutritional value. The risotto is typically finished with a touch of butter and grated cheese to enrich the flavours.
Barley is a whole grain that contains essential nutrients like fibre, vitamins (B vitamins, vitamin E), minerals (magnesium, manganese, selenium), and antioxidants. These nutrients contribute to overall health and well-being.
Barley is an excellent source of dietary fibre, which aids digestion, promotes satiety, and helps maintain healthy cholesterol levels.
The fibre and antioxidants found in barley may reduce the risk of heart disease by lowering cholesterol levels and improving cardiovascular health.
The complex carbohydrates in barley provide a steady release of energy, making it an excellent choice for sustained endurance and managing blood sugar levels.
Barley’s high fibre content helps promote feelings of fullness and may assist in weight management by reducing overall calorie intake.
Serve barley risotto as a main course accompanied by a side salad or roasted vegetables for a complete meal.
Top with freshly grated Parmesan cheese or crumbled feta for an extra burst of flavour.
Garnish with chopped fresh herbs like parsley, basil, or chives to add freshness and brightness.
Drizzle with high-quality olive oil before serving to enhance the richness of the dish.
Sauté a medley of mushrooms, such as cremini, shiitake, and oyster mushrooms, with fresh thyme. Stir them into the barley risotto for a rich and earthy flavour.
Roast diced butternut squash until tender and add it to the risotto along with chopped fresh sage. This combination creates a delicious autumn-inspired dish.
Incorporate seasonal vegetables like asparagus, peas, and leeks into the risotto, adding a burst of vibrant colours and flavours.
Add freshly squeezed lemon juice and zest to the risotto during the cooking process. Stir in a mixture of fresh herbs such as parsley, dill, and chives for a refreshing twist.
Barley risotto is best served immediately while it’s hot and creamy. It makes for a comforting and satisfying meal on its own or as a side dish. Feel free to experiment with different variations and combinations of ingredients to suit your taste preferences and dietary needs. Enjoy!Print
This barley risotto is an easy to make dish as well as comforting and nutritious, made with barley, broccoli, cauliflower, green peas,mushrooms, carrot, asparagus and garnished with almonds, leek and microgreens. It can be served as a vegetarian dinner, or with a salad or as a side dish.
Preparation for Vegetable Stock
- Onion (trimmings)
- Green pea shells
- Cauliflower stems
- Mushroom stems
- Broccoli stems
- Asparagus stalks
For Barley Risotto
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
- 2”inch ginger, chopped
- 2 garlic cloves, chopped
- 1 medium onion, finely chopped
- ¼ cup yellow capsicum, chopped
- 5–6 button mushrooms (stems removed)
- 1 small carrot, peeled and chopped
- 4–5 cauliflower florets, grated
- ¼ cup green peas
- 4–5 broccoli florets
- 1 green chilli, chopped
- 2 cups barley
- 6 to 8 asparagus stalks
- Black peppercorns, crushed
- Salt to taste
- 2–3 fresh parsley sprigs
- 2–3 fresh rosemary sprigs
- 4 almonds, grated
- ¼ inch leek, sliced
- Few microgreens
Preparation for Vegetable Stock
- In a deep non-stick pot, heat plenty of water along with trimmings of onion, green pea shells, cauliflower stems, mushroom stems, broccoli stems, and asparagus stalks.
- Let it boil for 10-15 minutes.
- Next, finely chop the onion, carrot, ginger, garlic and green chilli. Also slice the mushroom caps.
- Trim asparagus top and set aside.
How to make Barley Risotto
- In another deep non-stick pan, heat olive oil.
- Add finely chopped ginger-garlic and sauté for 30 seconds.
- Add onion, sauté till it turns golden in color.
- Add chopped yellow capsicum and sliced mushrooms. Saute for 2-3 minutes.
- Add carrot, cauliflower florets, broccoli florets, green peas, green chilli.
- Now add barley and mix well.
- Add vegetable stock, crushed peppercorns and salt to taste. Cook for 5-6 minutes on low flame till the liquid is absorbed.
- Add more stock, mix and cook till the barley is fully cooked.
- Add chopped asparagus stems, parsley and rosemary to the pan.
- Add 2 grated almonds with asparagus tops.
- Combine everything well.
- Now finely sliced leek.
- Remove the risotto to a serving bowl.
- Garnish with remaining grated almonds, sliced leeks and micro greens on top.
- Serve hot.
- I have used pearl barley in this recipe, so you don’t need to soak pearl barley before cooking, but if you are using pot barley then you must soak it overnight because it may take a little longer to cook.
- If you don’t have frozen peas then fresh peas work just as well. You can also substitute peas with beans that would also work like green peas.
- You could substitute leek for one white onion if you can’t get leeks. It adds a delicate flavour to the base of barley risotto.
- If you have leftovers in the refrigerator then you could reheat the pearl barley risotto using a microwave.
- Category: Rice
- Cuisine: Italian
Keywords: Barley Recipes, How to make Barley Rissoto at home, Italian Food, Healthy Recipes, Barley Risotto with Mushrooms