I had wanted to add fresh morel mushrooms to this recipe, but at $30/pound it was out of the question. So instead I added a little porcini powder to create a rich earthy flavor. It's best to stop cooking the risotto after you add the last ladle of stock because the barley will continue to soak up all the juices long before serving. I also added a little extra broth to the bowl so that it remained creamy when all the ingredients were mixed together.
1 medium onion, diced small
4 cloves garlic, minced
1 tsp fresh thyme, minced
1 tsp porcini mushroom powder
1 cup pearl barley
1/4 cup white wine
6 cups vegetable stock
1 pound asparagus, thick bottoms removed
1 bunch broccolini, thick bottoms removed
1/2 cup frozen English Peas, thawed
4 cups organic baby spinach
4 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
Kosher salt and fresh black pepper to taste
2 tbsp fresh parsley, minced
Juice of 1 lemon
Vegan Parmesan cheese (recipe below)
- In a sauce pan, bring vegetable stock to a boil, remove from heat and keep warm.
- In a large saute pan add 2 tbsp olive oil and cook onions and garlic until soft, about 5 minutes.
- Add pearl barley, thyme and porcini powder and mix until combined.
- Deglaze the pan with white wine and cook until almost all wine is absorbed. Season with salt and pepper.
- Add 1-2 ladles of stock at a time to the barley and simmer stirring frequently until most of the liquid is absorbed before adding more liquid. Repeat until barley has puffed up in size and is creamy in texture.
- While barley is simmering, heat a grill pan on medium-high. Toss asparagus and broccolini in olive oil, salt and pepper and grill until crisp-tender and charred. Slice on bias in 2" slices, set aside.
- Add spinach, asparagus, broccolini, and peas to the risotto and cook until spinach has wilted and vegetables are heated through. Add additional stock and remove from heat. Check seasonings and add salt and pepper if needed.
- Garnish risotto with minced parsley, parmesan cheese and fresh lemon juice.
1/4 toasted walnuts, finely minced
1 tbsp nutritional yeast (found in Health Food stores)
1/2-3/4 tsp kosher salt
- Mix ingredients together in a bowl as use as a garnish.