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Baked Barley Risotto With Mushrooms and Carrots

Baked Barley Risotto With Mushrooms and Carrots

Baked Barley Risotto With Mushrooms and Carrots

Healthy and rich in flavor, barley is an excellent substitute for arborio rice in this risotto, boasting its natural plumpness and chewiness when cooked. Adding grated Parmesan and butter towards the end of the cooking process unlocks the starches in barley, resulting in a luxuriously silky and creamy consistency.
Opting for pearl barley rather than hulled is important, as it cooks more rapidly and becomes more tender. Regarding the mushrooms, a delightful blend of white button, cremini, and earthy shiitakes works wonderfully, but you can elevate the dish further by using oysters, king trumpets, or maitake mushrooms in any combination you prefer.
What sets this risotto apart, however, is that it's baked, alleviating the need for continuous stirring over the stovetop. This makes it a fantastic option for a satisfying vegetarian weeknight dinner or a delightful side dish to complement a large roast or fish, offering convenience without compromising flavor.
Total Time 45 minutes
Servings 4

Ingredients
  

  • 3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
  • ½ small white or yellow onion finely chopped (approximately ½ cup)
  • 5 garlic cloves thinly sliced
  • 1 pound mixed mushrooms such as white button, cremini, and shiitakes, halved if small, quartered if large (approximately 7 cups total)
  • Kosher salt and black pepper
  • 10 ounces pearl barley approximately 1½ cups
  • 1 medium carrot very thinly sliced into rounds (approximately 1 cup)
  • 2 ounces grated Parmesan approximately ½ cup, with extra for serving
  • 2 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • ¼ cup chopped chives

Instructions
 

  • Preheat your oven to 425 degrees Fahrenheit. In a large Dutch oven or heavy pot, heat 2 tablespoons of oil over medium heat. Add the finely chopped onion and sliced garlic, and cook while stirring occasionally until they become softened, which should take about 3 minutes. Next, introduce the mushrooms and the remaining 1 tablespoon of oil, and season them with salt and pepper. Continue to cook, stirring occasionally, until the mushrooms soften, roughly another 3 minutes.
  • Add the pearl barley and thinly sliced carrot into the mixture. Pour in 4½ cups of water and bring everything to a boil over high heat. Once it's boiling, cover the pot, transfer it to the oven, and let it bake until the barley reaches a tender, chewy consistency and nearly all of the liquid is absorbed. This usually takes about 30 minutes.
  • Stir in the Parmesan cheese and butter until the mixture thickens and becomes creamy. Season it with salt and pepper.
  • To serve, distribute among shallow bowls and garnish it with chopped chives and additional Parmesan cheese if desired.