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Saturday, June 21, 2014

Prep Time: 30 Minutes
Cook Time: 25 Minutes
Servings:      6 Servings


1 (2-lbs) butternut squash, peeled, seeded and cut into 1-inch cubes
2 tablespoons olive oil
 salt and freshly ground black pepper,(season to taste)
5 cups low-sodium chicken broth
1/4 cup unsalted butter
1 cup sweet onion, diced
1 cup sweet red bell pepper, diced
2 cloves garlic, minced
2 tablespoons fresh basil leaves, torn into small pieces
2 teaspoons fresh oregano leaves, torn into small pieces
2 tablespoons fresh Italian parsley, finely chopped
1 1/2 cups quick pearled barley
1 1/3 cups fresh peeled and seeded Roma tomatoes, diced
1/4 cup  Asiago Cheese, finely grated
1/3 cup roasted and unsalted pistachio nuts, coarsely chopped
1/4 cup  Parmigiano Reggiano Cheese, finely shredded


Heat oven to 375 degrees F.  Add squash onto a baking sheet and toss in the olive oil until squash is well coated. Season squash lightly, with a little salt and ground black pepper each. Roast in oven 20 minutes, or until tender. Remove from oven and place baking sheet onto a cooling rack, keeping warm; set aside.

Meanwhile, heat 5 cups of broth, over medium-high heat, in a medium saucepan, until broth begins to come to a boil.  Reduce heat setting to lowest setting, and keep broth warm over low heat to a simmer.

Into a 5-quart Dutch oven, over medium heat, melt the butter. Add the onions, red bell peppers, garlic, basil, oregano and parsley into melted butter and cook 3 minutes, stirring occasionally. Add the barley into the cooking vegetables, season mixture with a little amount of salt and ground black pepper each, seasoning to taste, and stir every 2 minutes. Add 2 full ladles of the warm simmering broth into the barley and vegetable mixture. Stir, let simmer until broth is absorbed into the barley and vegetable mixture. Continue adding the simmering warm broth, 2 ladles at a time, stirring every few minutes. Continue cooking process, adding broth until barley is cooked through; about 15 minutes total cooking process time. Remove risotto mixture from heat, add in squash, tomatoes, 1/4 cup Asiago cheese and nuts into risotto, and stir until mixed well together and creamy.  Spoon creamy risotto into a large serving dish with shallow 2-inch sides. Sprinkle the remaining 1/4 cup Parmigiano Reggiano Cheese over top. Serve immediately. Makes 6 servings.

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