A lot of people don’t know this, but risotto is not just a dish - it's also a technique. Warm stock is gradually added to short, starchy toasted grains (traditionally Arborio or Carnaroli, but in this recipe we use pearl barley) until they become tender and creamy. Add wine, lots of butter and good parmesan (never cream!) and the possibilities are almost limitless. Best of all, if you have some risotto left over, you can make it into Arancini!
The great thing about risotto is its diversity. It can be an entrée or an accompaniment, and it’s a great way to use up bits of things that are left over in your fridge, or to highlight another product that you want to be the star of the plate. Pumpkins, squashes and kale are amazing with this barley risotto and are available at UBC Farm and Vancouver Farmer's Markets right now.
Toasted Corn & Barley Risotto Recipe
Yield: 4 Servings
60g (1/3 cup) corn kernels, fresh if you can get it
25ml (2 tbsp) + 50ml (4 tbsp) olive oil, separated
pinch of salt and pepper
1L vegetable stock (homemade or low-sodium store-bought broth)
30g (one small) shallot, finely diced
250g (1.5 cups) pearl barley
10g (1-2 cloves) garlic, finely minced
125ml (1/2 cup) dry white wine, like sauvignon blanc or pinot grigio
50g (1/4 cup) butter
parmesan cheese, grated
chives, finely chopped
- Preheat oven to 425°F.
- Toss corn in 25ml olive oil, salt and pepper. Roast in the oven for 5 - 10 minutes, or until starting to darken slightly. Remove from the oven and reserve to add to the risotto later.
- Bring vegetable stock to a simmer and keep warm.
- In a large pot over medium low heat add remaining olive oil and diced shallot. Sauté gently, about 1-2 minutes.
- Turn the heat up to medium and add the dry pearl barley. Allow to toast with oil and shallot for about 6 minutes. Add garlic puree and continue toasting 30-60 seconds more.
- Add white wine and simmer 1-2 minutes.
- When the wine has evaporated, add warm stock a few ladles at a time, while stirring continuously (stirring pretty much non-stop is the secret to creamy risottos). When the stock has been absorbed, keep adding a few ladles at a time until the barley is cooked al dente.
- Add butter and cheese and keep stirring until incorporated.
- Finish by adding roasted corn and finely chopped chives. Season to taste.