Barley Risotto with Spinach and Mascarpone
Another great Rachel Ray recipe, this has become a household favorite. Barley is a great whole-grain alternative to arborio rice, assuming you add something to make it creamy. Mascarpone does the job deliciously!
Barley Risotto with Garlic, Spinach and Mascarpone
2 T evoo
1 shallot, finely chopped
3 cloves garlic
1 pinch crushed red pepper
1 1/4 cups pearl barley (I get mine from the bulk section at Winco- sooo cheap)
1/2 cup dry white wine
1 1/2 cups vegetable broth (or chicken, if you don't have a vegetarian in the house)
5 oz bag of baby spinach
1/2 cup mascarpone cheese
1/2 cup freshly grated parmesan, plus shavings for sprinkling
1 tsp grated lemon peel
1. In a large skillet, heat the olive oil over medium-high heat. Add the shallot, garlic and red pepper; cook until the shallot is softened, 2 to 3 minutes. Add the barley and cook, stirring, for 1 minute. Add the wine and cook until most of the liquid is absorbed, about 2 minutes. Add the broth, 1 1/2 cups water and 1/2 tsp each salt and black pepper; bring to a boil. Lower the heat and simmer, covered, until the grains are tender but chewy, about 30 minutes. (I find that it takes longer than 30 minutes to get the barley tender; taste as necessary)
2. Stir in the spinach, mascarpone, parmesan and grated lemon peel; season with salt and pepper. Serve immediately, sprinkled with the shaved parmesan.