culinary review

Barley Risotto with Spinach, Asparagus and Blue Cheese

Last Modified: 03/29/09
First Published: 03/29/09
Views: 1350
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Views: 1350
barley risotto
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General Info
Servings: 6
Total Cost: $11.61
Cost Per Serving: $1.94
Total Calories: 2,637
Calories/Serving: 439
Barley, Pearl 2 Cups 400.00 Grams $0.44 1,408
Butter, Unsalted 2 Tablespoons 28.00 Grams $0.13 200
Onion, Yellow Diced (medium) 1 Cup 160.00 Grams $0.35 67
Vermouth, Dry, Generic 750 ml Bottle 1/2 Cup 112.00 Grams $1.12 220
Chicken Broth (or 3 bullion cubes and water) 6 1/2 Cups 1,579.50 Grams $0.70 78
Spinach, Frozen * 1.00 Pound $1.52 107
Danish Blue * 4.00 Ounces $1.99 446
Lemon, Whole (medium) * 100.00 Grams $0.37 20
Asparagus * 1.00 Pound $4.98 91
To make a barley risotto is a great alternative to making regular rice risotto. Apart from featuring more nutrition and substance than white rice, barley also provides a wonderful, chewy texture that works very well in a risotto dish. Barley is a great staple item that isn’t being used nearly enough: it’s very cheap, it’s healthy and it’s delicious and hearty, if cooked correctly. This recipe can be varied endlessly by changing the vegetables, adding a little meat or using a different cheese – barley works perfectly with most ingredients, just like rice.

4-6 servings

2 tbsp butter
1 onion, chopped
2 cups pearl barley
½ cup dry vermouth
6 ½ cups chicken or vegetable broth
1 pack of thawed frozen spinach (240 g)
1 pound asparagus
6 ounces Blue cheese
1 lemon, zest and juice


Heat up the broth in pot. In a separate large pot sauté the chopped onion in butter, until the onion turns translucent. Add the barley and continue to sauté for a couple of minutes to toast the barley slightly. De-glace with the dry vermouth, let simmer for a minute. Then add two ladles of hot broth to the pot, stir, reduce the heat to medium-low and put a lid on. After 5-10 minutes, check the barley, stir and add another ladle or two with broth.

Continue process for 30-40 minutes until the barley is soft but chewy. You might not need to use all the broth, it depends. When the barley is cooked, add the spinach and the cut asparagus. Cook for a minute, then add crumbled cheese and lemon zest as well as lemon juice. Finish off with some freshly ground pepper, and possible add a little salt if necessary.

Serve immediately.