There are few advantages to having my husband live in a different state for the next three months. In fact, I can think of only one: I get to eat Risotto. All. The. Time. That’s right, my darling husband is just not that into Risotto. I took me a while to come to terms with this, but we’re cool now. I make this Spring Vegetable Risotto, or variations on it, often. And I know if I eat it once, then I will be eating it every week for a while, it is just lovely.
Feel free to use this recipe as a template, the vegetables are totally interchangeable. However I really dig this Spring-y combination of asparagus, peas and broad beans. When I make Risotto with barley I like to add some creaminess back into the dish. In this recipe I do that with with Mascapone, and of course I top it off with freshly grated parmesan. If you want to make this dish vegan, or less rich, simply omit the two cheeses.
One last note on the vegetable stock- I strongly recommend using a low sodium version. As the flavours cook down and become more concentrated, a normal stock could result in a too salty dish. No good!
- 2 tbsp olive oil
- 1 small onion
- 1 garlic clove, minced
- 1 cup/200g pearl barley
- 1 tsp dried thyme
- 7 cups (1750ml) low sodium vegetable stock
- ½ bunch/200g of asparagus chopped into 2 inch pieces
- 1⅓ cup/180g of frozen peas (defrosted)
- 1⅓ cup/200g of broad beans (shelled)
- 3 tbsp mascarpone
- ½ cup/50g freshly grated parmesan (plus more to sprinkle on top)
- zest of 1 lemon
- Handful of chopped fresh parsley (optional)
- Pour prepared vegetable stock into a small saucepan, and bring to a low simmer.
- In a large pot, heat olive oil over medium heat
- Add onions, and sauté for about 5 minutes until softened
- Add garlic, and cook for a minute longer
- Add the pearl barley and thyme to the pot, and give everything a good stir so that the barley has a nice oily coating
- Add a ladle of stock into the pot and stir until almost absorbed, continue this process for the next twenty five minutes, remember to stir constantly
- Add the asparagus to the pot, and continue ladling the stock and stirring for five more minutes
- Add the peas and broad beans to the pot, and cook for 5 more minutes,
- After 5 minutes, the barley should be tender, remove from the heat and stir in the mascarpone, parmesan and lemon zest
- Season with salt and pepper, and serve with fresh parsley and additional parmesan if desired
You might have a little stock left over- it is best to start with more than you need and not use it all!
Adapted from this recipe.