Barley risotto with asparagus

Pearl barley makes a great risotto: It retains its distinct chew while releasing its starch to create a risotto as creamy as one made with Arborio rice — and with barely any stirring.

1 large bunch asparagus, blanched and cut into 2” pieces
½ bag mushrooms
1 tbsp olive oil
4 cups low-salt chicken stock (or 4 cups hot water plus 2 regular stock cubes)
1 bunch chopped green onion
2/3  cup dry white wine
1 cup pearl (regular) barley
½ cup freshly grated parmesan cheese (or ¼ cup dry parmesan)
freshly ground black pepper
*taste it before you add salt, the cheese and stock usually makes it salty enough

YIELD: 6 to 8 servings

COURSE: Casseroles and One Pots

CUISINE: Italian


  1. Bring the stock to a simmer in a saucepan, keep warm.
  2. Heat the olive oil in a big pan. Add green onions and mushrooms and sauté 3-4 minutes or until tender. Add the barley and stir for 1 minute. Add the wine and stir until mostly absorbed. Add the stock and cook covered, stirring occasionally, until thebarley is soft and all the stock is gone. The mixture should have a slightly saucy consistency and the barley should be plump (~30 minutes). Remove from the heat and
  3. Stir in the asparagus and the cheese. Season with pepper (salt if needed) and serve