I make pasta for dinner at least twice a week. I know that’s horrible, but it’s so easy to make a giant pot of pasta that I can separate into enough for that night’s dinner, then several servings for my lunches at work. I might mix some red sauce and alfredo sauce when I’m making it for dinner with Dan, then I’ll use plain pasta with olive oil, parmesan cheese, crushed red pepper and a sprinkling of bread crumbs. Tonight I wanted to make something that wasn’t pasta, but I wanted it to be nearly as easy as pasta.
Lemon Barley Risotto
This made about three servings…although Dan’s serving was fairly large.
What You Need
– 1 cup uncooked pearl barley
– 3 to 3.5 cups veggie broth (Erin’s recipe calls for chicken broth…but all I had was veggie)
– 1 clove garlic, finely chopped
– 1.5 tbsp butter (I used salted)
– 1 tbsp fresh squeezed lemon juice (I’d like to pretend I have fresh-squeezed lemon juice, but I just used the little container sold in the produce area at Target)
– 1/2 cup parmesan (Erin’s recipe was healthier with a little less cheese…but I really like cheese)
– salt & pepper to taste (I didn’t use any salt or pepper)
What To Do
– Heat a medium saucepan over medium heat. Add butter and chopped garlic, then sautee until it’s lightly golden and fragrant (about one minute).
– Pour in the uncooked barley to butter/garlic mixture, and stir until the barley is coated. Let it cook for a couple minutes, stirring constantly.
– Add one cup of broth and bring it to a boil. Then reduce the heat to medium.
– As the broth absorbs, add more broth 1/2 cup at a time, allowing each 1/2 cup to absorb almost completely before adding the next. Stir regularly. This took me about 25 to 30 minutes. I multitasked — made hard-boiled eggs, emptied the dishwasher, reloaded the dishwasher and handwashed a few dishes. Go me!
– Once your broth is gone, do a quick taste test — it should be soft and slightly chewy. If it’s still crunchy, add more broth. If it’s done, remove the pan from the heat, stir in the cheese and then the lemon juice.
I’m sure there are lots of good side items for this dish — I happened to throw a bag of frozen green beans in the fridge for a quick vegetable option. I put those in a bowl and drizzled a little olive oil over it, then sprinkled some MORE parmesan cheese on top. Yum! The green beans and barley risotto together were super good.
I’m pretty horrible about making side dishes with my entrees…it’s like I went to all the work of actually cooking one item — how can I be bothered enough to do another one? Maybe even more? I don’t know how better people do it. Something to aspire to, I guess. What are some of your favorite, easy side items?