Carrot Barley Risotto

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Did you know that you can healthify traditional risotto?

You didn’t?

Well, you can.

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Yup, it’s true. A simple arborio-barley swap’ll yield a healthier end product. Barley can be cooked up in the same way as it’s white rice counterpart and will give you a lovely, chewy, slightly-nutty risotto that you’ll actually feel good about eating.

Toss in a heap of veggies and some yummy parmesan cheese for a nice balance of nutrition and delishion.

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Yum, yum, and yum.

Oh, and another benefit? When you use barley, you won’t risk having your risotto turn to mush as with thy finicky arborio rice.

Easy? yup. Healthy? yup. Delish? yup.

Now, off you go.

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Carrot Barley Risotto

Adapted from Heather Christo

Ingredients
2 Tbsp butter
2 Tbsp extra virgin olive oil
1 onion, diced small
1 clove garlic, minced
2 celery stalks, diced small
3 cups carrot, diced small or grated
1-1/2 cups barley, rinsed
1 cup white wine
1-2 cup fresh carrot juice, optional
6-8 cups vegetable stock (you want your carrot juice + veggie stock = 8 cups total liquid)
1 cup parmesan cheese, grated
1/4 tsp cayenne pepper
salt & pepper, to taste
1 Tbsp fresh mint, finely juienned
1 Tbsp fresh chives, minced

Directions
1. In a medium saucepan, combine the vegetable stock and carrot juice (if using) together in a pot and bring to a simmer.
2. Meanwhile, melt the butter and the olive oil together in a large, wide-bottomed, sauté pan.
3. Add the onion, garlic, and celery to the pan and sweat until tender over medium-low heat, about 5 minutes.
4. Add the carrots to the onions, and sweat another 2 minutes.
5. Add the barley and cook with the veggies and saute for about 3 minutes.
6. Add the cup of white wine, and using a wooden spoon, stir and stir, scraping up any bits stuck to the bottom of the pan.
7. This is where you begin to add the simmering liquid, a cup at a time, to the risotto.
8. You just keep stirring and stirring. As the stock is cooked into the barley and it begins to dry out, you ladle more in.
9. Just keep ladling stock in and stirring until the stock is gone and the barley is tender.
10. When the barley is tender, remove the risotto from the heat.
11. Stir in the parmesan cheese, cayenne pepper, and then season with salt and pepper to taste.
12. Add the mint and the chives and stir well.
13. Dish up with a garnish of shredded parmesan and a sprinkle of herbs. Serve hot.

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