Risotto is a staple in our house. It’s fun to make and is a great base for spotlighting your favorite vegetables, meats or cheeses. I’ve seen a lot of recipes lately making “risotto” out of different grains like quinoa, barley, farro, etc. and I was intrigued. When I was younger my mom worked at a malting plant and would always bring home tubs of barley. We ate so much of it I eventually couldn’t eat it anymore and haven’t touched it since. I decided to give it another chance by making it “risotto” style with fresh summer squash and zucchini from my garden. The result was surprisingly flavorful and hearty.
In a medium pan, add 2 tablespoons of olive oil. Once heated, add chopped zucchini, summer squash and salt and saute until soft. About 15 minutes. Remove from heat and set aside.
In a separate cast iron pan, heat remaining olive oil. Add shallot and garlic cloves and cook until softened, about 3 minutes. Add barley and saute for 5 minutes, stirring often, allowing the barley to brown slightly.
Add in wine or sherry and cook until alcohol evaporates . Add 2 cups of broth and bring to a boil.
Cover pot and cook for about 30 minutes, stirring occasionally. Remove lid and add remaining 1 cup of broth as needed. Cook an additional 20-25 minutes or until barley has softened.
Once cooked, add parmesan and vegetables. Serve immediately.
Risotto can sound intimidating but it really is very easy once you get the hang of it. And once you have the basics down, you can get really creative and add a variety of different toppings and flavors. Butternut squash risotto is a staple in our house during the fall and winter and my husband LOVES it. This version is very similar but swaps the squash with caramelized carrots and velvety marscapone cheese.
A rich, velvety risotto with marscapone cheese and caramelized carrots
Author: Gotham Kitchen
Recipe type: Main
Serves: 4-6 servings
3 tablespoons olive oil
2 tablespoons salted butter
8 medium carrots
1 T sugar
1⁄2 teaspoon salt
5 cups chicken broth
1 medium onion, minced
1 1⁄2 cups arborio rice
1⁄2 cup dry white wine (sauvignon blanc or pinot grigiot)
1⁄4 cup marscapone cheese
1⁄4 cup finely shredded parmesan cheese
1 teaspoon roughly chopped fresh thyme (optional)
1⁄8 teaspoon black pepper
Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Slice carrots in half lengthwise and toss with 1 tablespoon oil. Lay carrots flat on baking sheet and lightly sprinkle with sugar. Roast in oven 20 minutes or until fork slides through easily. Set aside 4 carrot halves and place the rest in a food processor. Blend until smooth (you may have to have to add a tablespoon of water for a smoother consistency).
Heat remaining oil and butter over medium heat in a medium cast iron pot; add onion and cook until translucent, about 3 minutes. Add rice, stirring with a wooden spoon to coat rice with oil, 1 minute. Add wine and cook, stirring, until wine evaporates. Add carrot puree and stir until blended.
Add ½ cup hot broth, stirring often, until rice absorbs most of the liquid. Repeat process, adding ½ cup broth at a time and stirring often till each addition is absorbed before adding the next, until rice is al dente (about 20 minutes; at least 1 cup broth will remain).
Fold in mascarpone, ¼ cup parmesan and the thyme. Add up to 1 cup broth (1/4 cup at a time) to loosen the risotto. Season with salt and pepper to taste.
Sprinkle each bowl of risotto with parmesan and reserved carrots. Serve immediately.