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Barley Risotto--a creamy side dish made with hearty-healthy barley

Updated on September 26, 2015
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A different type of risotto

Risotto is an Italian dish--rice slowly cooked in broth to a creamy consistency. Yes, it takes a bit of time (about 30 minutes), but is really quite easy.

I found barley on sale today at my local grocery store and so we're taking a slight detour from tradition. In fact, I'm not sure we can even accurately call this "risotto" because it's made with barley instead of rice. However, both rice and barley are grasses and the techniques used to cook them are very similar.

Cook Time

Prep time: 15 min
Cook time: 45 min
Ready in: 1 hour
Yields: 4 servings


  • 6 slices bacon or turkey bacon
  • 3 tsp. olive oil, divided
  • 2 cups chicken, beef, or vegetable broth
  • 1 cup water
  • 1 cup onion, minced
  • 1 cup barley
  • 1 tablespoon minced garlic
  • 1/2 cup dry white wine
  • 1/2 cup parmesan cheese, grated
  1. Place chopped bacon and 1 tsp. olive oil in sauté pan and cook over medium-high heat, stirring frequently, until crisp. Remove from pan and set aside.
  2. Bring broth and water to a boil in a small saucepan. Reduce heat to low and keep warm.
  3. Place olive oil and minced onion in large saucepan. Cook over medium heat until onion begins to soften, about 5 minutes.
  4. Add barley and stir so that all grains are coated with olive oil.
  5. Add 1/2 cup wine to pan and cook, stirring constantly, until wine is mostly evaporated.
  6. Turn heat to low. Add 1/2 cup broth to pan and cook until most of the broth is absorbed.
  7. Continue to add broth, 1/2 cup at a time, and cook until barley is cooked through--about 35 to 45 minutes.
  8. Remove from heat and stir in Parmesan cheese and reserved cooked bacon.

© 2013 Linda Lum


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