Sunday, December 20, 2009

Barley Risotto with Asparagus and Goat Cheese

Two nights ago I made this for dinner with a few modifications. There is just something so therapeutic about making risotto; it tends to instantly calm me. I'd had a very crazy day and after watching a playmate of Ella's and chasing two 14-month olds around for seven hours, I was in need of some brainless stirring action. (Not to mention the fact that it'd been about 16 degrees for the last few days so comfort food was high on my priority list.)

Barley Risotto With Asparagus and Parmesan Goat Cheese

5 cups of broth -- I used turkey stock that I made after Thanksgiving but you could use low-sodium vegetable or chicken broth
2 Tbsp EVOO
1 large yellow onion, finely chopped
1 large clove garlic, finely chopped
1 1/2 cups barley
1 cup dry white wine (such as Sauvignon Blanc) 3/4 cup apple juice, 1/4 cup water and a large squeeze of lemon juice
1 pound asparagus, cut diagonally into 1-inch pieces
1/2 tsp kosher salt
1/4 tsp black pepper
1/2 cup grated parmesan goat milk cheddar

Warm the broth in a small saucepan over low heat. Meanwhile, heat the oil in a large saucepan over medium heat. Add the onion and cook, stirring occasionally, for 7 minutes or until soft. Add the garlic and cook 1 minute more.

Add the barley and cook, stirring, for 2 minutes. Stir in the wine apple juice, water & lemon juice and cook until the liquid is absorbed, about 3 minutes. Add the broth, 1/2 cup at a time, stirring occasionally and waiting until it is absorbed before adding more.

Add the asparagus with the last 1/2 cup of broth and cook until tender. It should take 30 to 35 minutes for all the broth to be absorbed.

Remove from heat, season with the salt and pepper, and stir in the goat cheese. Spoon into individual bowls.

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