Barley Asparagus Risotto

Barley asparagus risottoForgive me if I’m a little late with an asparagus recipe. I know that our markets are almost out of it here, but perhaps you’ll get lucky and still be able to pick some up. We enjoyed our weeks of asparagus riches in many ways, most of them simple preparations. I also experimented skeptically with eating raw asparagus and found we loved it. For your next picnic, you might try this very bright salad with or without the arugula.

This recipe resulted from a toddler’s demand of risotto and a bulk aisle that was out of arborio rice. It took a little longer to cook up than regular risotto, but the textures were really interesting and the result was delicious – both cozy and springlike.

Feeds 3-4

1 bunch asparagus, chopped into 1/2 inch-1 inch pieces
1 spring onion, chopped small
5 garlic scapes, snipped small
1 cup barley
1/2 cup white wine
5 cups homemade chicken or veg stock
1 cup water
4 strips of bacon (optional topping)

  1. Saute the chopped asparagus in a large chef’s pan with olive oil for a few minutes over high heat. (You can skip this step if you already have some leftover asparagus.) Set aside.
  2. Heat your stock in a separate pan on the stove.
  3. In the same pan, over medium, saute the onion, scapes and barley for about 3 minutes.
  4. Add the white wine to the pan and stir constantly,  letting it bubble until there is very little liquid left.
  5. Ladle in about one cup of the stock. Reduce to medium low. Stir and let simmer until the stock is absorbed. Add stock one ladle at a time, waiting between additions for the liquid to be absorbed. simmering barley risotto
  6. Add the water lastly and return the asparagus to the skillet. Stir.
  7. Plate and sprinkle bacon on top for some extra crunch.

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