Bright Side Barley Beet Risotto

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Sometimes you have the look on the bright side of cooking for one. For example, you don’t have to cater to someone else’s tastes. Sometimes the bright side is a little more literal. When your dinner is this vibrant looking it’s hard to be down. So, pour yourself a matching glass of rose and get ready to sashay around your kitchen. Tonight’s dinner is pink. Very, delightfully pink.

This risotto is a riff on one I’ve made previously, which was itself a loose interpretation on Cooking Light’s Barley, Butternut Squash, and Shiitake Risotto from the March 2010 issue. I think that risotto is especially nice when served with a side salad or grilled chicken, but you can eat this as a meal if you’d like.

I think that this recipe could be further reduced, but I would recommend making the full two servings here and bringing half for lunch. It’ll make noontime just that more enjoyable.

Splash of olive oil
½ sweet onion, diced
1 garlic clove, diced
½ cup barley
2 cups vegetable broth
Dash of salt & pepper
½-¾ cup beets, peeled and diced
¼ cup sliced shiitake mushrooms
¼ cup crumbled goat cheese
Fresh thyme to season

Heat olive oil in medium size saucepan over medium-high heat. Add onion and garlic and sauté for a few minutes – until onions are on the verge of translucence.

Add barley and stir in with onion mixture for about a minute, to help toast the barley. Add the broth and bring to a boil. Reduce heat, put a lid on it and let it simmer, siring occasionally.

While the barley is cooking, peel & dice the beets into small cubes. Microwave in a covered dish with a bit of water for about 3 minutes – until tender when pierced with a fork. Drain water and set aside. [Note: covered is really important here unless you want to clean up hot pink stains in your microwave]

The barley is ready once the liquid is mostly soaked up – generally about 30 minutes. Once cooked, lower the temperature and mix in the beets, shiitake mushrooms, crumbled goat cheese and thyme to taste. Season with salt & pepper if needed.

Pair with Regina Spektor’s Ne me quittee pas

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