Bright Side Barley Beet Risotto


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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