butternut squash & pearl barley risotto

Butternut Squash & Pearl Barley Risotto

if you were to ask me what my
favorite thing about autumn was
i’d be hard pressed to come up with
an answer
i would respond with more than
one answer
because despite my dislike for
the chill,
for the need for layers,
for the fading light starting at 4pm
there is still plenty to like
about autumn

for one,
the sunsets seem prettier,
the horizon has an urgency to it,
like it’s beseeching you to stop & look at it
for another,
hand-yarned neck adornments
i lucked out this year,
nuria knitted me THREE scarves,
of which i will eventually blog about

then there’s the food
(it always gets back to that, doesn’t it?)
the crock pot can come out of hiding
soups & stews are on the weekly menu
most days the dwelling is warmed
by the hardworking stove and oven

while our csa is dwindling down
we’ve been stockpiling our stash of squash
i tried delicata squash recently
the abundance of them is a wonder now
we’ll tire of them soon enough
as the season progresses
but in the meantime,
like all good things
some coaxing and attention is required
for this dish
not only from the squash
but from the pearl barley as well

Butternut Squash & Pearl Barley Risotto

butternut squash & pearl barley risotto
adapted from martha stewart living, april 2013
*note: i used already cooked squash which i had roasted when i made the autumn harvest soup. if using raw squash, you want to add it earlier in the process of cooking the barley, maybe 15 minutes in? make sure the cubes are uniform in size so they cook at the same time. it’s tricky, because you want the squash to soften and the barley to be cooked through at the same time, it’s all about timing.

5 cups chicken broth (or, 3 cubes of homemade bouillon cubes + 3-4 cups of water)
2 TBL olive oil
1 cup pearl barley, rinsed and drained
1 bunch kale, stems removed and leaves torn into large pieces (about 6 cups)
half a good sized butternut squash, already roasted and cubed
half an onion, diced
2 cloves garlic minced
grated fresh Parmesan cheese, to top

heat up broth in a saucepan, keep warm

heat oil in a pot over medium heat. add barley and stir to coat until toasted. at this point, i removed the barley from the pan. return empty pan to fire, heat up a bit more oil and saute the onions and garlic. when fragrant, add in the barley again, then add in about 2 ladles-worth of broth. simmer, stirring constantly until broth has been absorbed.

do this continuously, until there’s about 2 ladles worth of broth left. add in the kale and squash, stirring in the remaining broth.

serve hot or at room temp, topped with grated parmasen cheese

serves 6 – calories: 201 | total fat: 5.9g | saturated fat: 0.8g | sodium: 745.5mg | total carbs: 32.9g | dietary fiber: 5.2g | sugars: 0.3g | protein: 7.1g

Butternut Squash & Pearl Barley Risotto

other winter squash dishes:
morestomach – autumn harvest soup
real simple – coconut rice with winter squash
the kitchn – creamy butternut squash orzotto with toasted pecans
my recipes – thai butternut soup

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18 thoughts on “butternut squash & pearl barley risotto

  1. Confession: I’ve never cooked risotto. I’m intimidated by it. But this, this looks good enough to make me put on my big girl pants and try!

  2. I was so sure I commented on this post… did I forget to click “post”, I wonder?!
    Anyway, I tried this recipe because I also had some roasted squash I wanted to use. It was marvelous, and I loved the subtle flavors of the squash contrasting to the kale… and I’m so glad I left out all the herbs I suggested that I might try. It would have been too much, I’m sure.
    Thanks again!

    1. hi anke,
      i am so glad this worked out for you and you enjoyed it. to be fair, i usually throw kale in everything i eat, out of habit and due to the fact that we always have it in our fridge, but it does lend a wonderful contrast to squash. thank you so much for letting me know how it turned out for you.

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