Tuesday, January 24, 2012

Mushroom Risotto - with a twist!

This weekend's cooking dilemma - I have a bag of barley and I need to figure out how to use it. I went prowling around the internet trying to decide what to make and I came across several sites suggesting that one use barley in place of rice in favorite recipes. So, armed with this tip, I pulled out an old mushroom risotto recipe (I think it's from America's Test Kitchen, but not positive; I didn't write down the source in my notebook) and went to work. Here it is!

Mushroom Risotto (Barley-otto?)

1/2 - 1 oz. dried shitake mushrooms
2 cups boiling water
3 T. extra-virgin olive oil
3/4 lb. bulk white or brown mushrooms, trimmed and quartered (cut into sixths if very large)
1 onion, chopped
1/2 tsp. dried minced garlic
1/2 tsp. thyme
1 1/2 cups pearl barley, rinsed
1 cup white wine (or vegetable broth, if you don't cook with wine)
1/2 cup grated Parmesan cheese
3 T. freshly minced parsley leaves
1 T. unsalted butter
salt and pepper to taste

1. Place dried mushrooms in bowl and cover with boiling water. Allow to sit until softened,about 20 minutes. With a fork, transfer mushrooms to cutting board. DO NOT discard mushroom broth!

2. Finely chop mushrooms. Pour the mushroom broth through a strainer lined with a paper towel and collect in small saucepan. Add 4 cups water, bring to a strong simmer, cover and remove from heat.

3. Meanwhile, heat 2T. of olive oil over medium-high heat in larger saucepan. Add the fresh mushrooms and 1/2 tsp. salt, and cook until browned nicely. Transfer mushrooms to a bowl and set aside.

4. Heat the remaning oil in saucepan and add onion and 1/4 tsp. salt., reduce heat to medium and cook, stirring occasionally, until onion softens. Stir in garlic, thyme and chopped shiitake mushrooms until fragrant. Then add barley and cook(stir constantly) for about 2 minutes until lightly toasted. Then add wine and cook, stirring often, until it evaporates, about 2-3 minutes.

5. Ladle 1 cup of mushroom broth into pot and cook, stirring, until barley absorbs liquid. Continue adding mushroom broth in 1 cup increments in this fashion and stirring occasionally until barley is creamy (not soup-like) and soft but still a little chewy - about 40-45 minutes. If you run out of broth, start using hot water.

6. Remove saucepan from heat and stir in cooked mushrooms, cheese, parsley, butter and salt/pepper to taste. Keep stirring until mushrooms are heated and butter melts.



  1. Amy,
    I'm really into mushrooms and you recipe invention to use the barely really looks delicious. I am now following you. I would love it if you followed me back.

  2. that looks really good. "Barley-otto" Love the name! :)

  3. I love both mushrooms and barley, this recipe look s delicious! I will have to keep this one in mind! :)

  4. That looks so yummy. Not sure if my husband will eat it though.

  5. You remembered to take pictures! :) You are so ahead of me....

    I adore mushrooms. and this looks divine! thanks for sharing!


  6. Ok....so I wouldn't know how to cook with barley either. That sounds really tasty! I love mushrooms too!