Friday, May 28, 2010

Barley Risotto with Mushrooms & Gremolata

I don't think I will ever use arborio rice for risotto again. I used mix of fresh and dried mushrooms, smokiness of the dried mushrooms and barley's robust and nutty flavor combined with fresh lemon zest, parsley and garlic leaves a rich and pleasant taste on your palate.


For the gremolata:

1/3 cup chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley
2 tablespoons grated lemon zest
1 tablespoons finely chopped garlic

For the barley risotto:

1 ounce dried porcini mushrooms, rinsed
1 cup hot water
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 pound assorted fresh mushrooms (such as morels, shiitakes, oyster, or chanterelles), sliced 1/4-inch thick
2 teaspoons kosher salt; more to taste
Freshly ground black pepper
6 to 7 cups homemade or low-salt canned chicken or vegetable broth
3 tablespoons unsalted butter
1 small onion, finely chopped
2 cups pearled barley


To make the gremolata: In a small bowl, mix together the parsley, lemon zest, and garlic.

To make the risotto:

1. Soak the porcini in the hot water for at least 30 minutes. Strain the liquid through a fine sieve and reserve. Chop the porcini into small pieces.
2. In a large saute pan with straight sides, heat the oil over high heat until shimmering but not smoking. Saute the sliced fresh mushrooms until they release some liquid and are browned, about 5 minutes.
3. Stir in the porcini and the reserved liquid, scraping up any browned bits. Season to taste with salt and pepper. Transfer the mushrooms and liquid to a bowl.
4. In a saucepan, bring the broth to a boil, reduce the heat, partially cover, and hold at a simmer. In the pan used for the mushrooms, melt the butter over medium heat.
5. Add the onion and cook until tender and translucent, 8 to 10 minutes. Add 2 teaspoons coarse salt and the barley, and stir until the grains are coated with butter.
6.  Add 1 cup of the hot broth, reduce the heat to low, and stir frequently until the broth is absorbed. Stir in another cup of broth. Once it's absorbed, add 1 more cup, stirring until it's also absorbed. Add 2 more cups and simmer the barley, stirring frequently, until it softens but isn't completely tender and the liquid is almost absorbed, about 10 minutes. Stir in the cooked mushrooms and their liquid and 1 to 2 more cups of broth. Simmer until the barley is tender, about 10 minutes more, stirring frequently and adding hot water or broth if needed.
The total cooking time for the barley can range from 30 to 60 minutes. Stir in the gremolata and adjust the seasonings to taste. Serve hot.

Recipe is adapted from Fine Cooking Magazine, May 1, 2002. pp 62

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