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Today’s Recipe: Spring Barley Risotto


(adapted from Fanny at Chez Panisse by Alice Waters)


4 cups vegetable or chicken stock
1 tablespoon butter
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 small onion, chopped
a sprig of thyme
1 cup barley or short grained rice
1 pound asparagus, cooked and chopped into 1 inch lengths
1/2 cup peas, fresh or frozen
2-3 tablespoons fresh herbs, chopped (mint, chives, parsley or mix)
1/4 cup parmesan cheese, grated
extra virgin olive oil for drizzling
1/2 lemon, juiced
salt and pepper
a handful or pea shoots, optional

  • Heat the broth in a small pot. Season it generously so it tastes a little salty and keep it hot on the stove top.

  • In a larger pot, melt the butter and oil together. Add the onions and thyme and saute gently 4-5 minutes, until soft and clear.

  • Add the barley and cook for 5 minutes, stirring often to incorporate with the onions and the butter.

  • Pour in about half of the hot stock or enough to cover the barley. Stir well and reduce the heat to a low simmer (it should be bubbling gently).
  • Cook uncovered, about 10 minutes until almost all the broth is absorbed by the grains.
  • Add in the rest of the stock and continue to simmer another 10 minutes until the barley is tender and a little soupiness remains.
  • Near the end of the cooking time, stir in the asparagus, peas, herbs and parmesan with a drizzle of extra virgin olive oil. Check for seasoning adding salt to taste.
  • Once cooked, finish with lemon.
  • Serve with some pea shoots on top (and extra evoo and cheese), if desired.
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