Friday, May 20, 2005

Barley Risotto with Garlic, Spinach and Mascarpone

Barley Risotto with Garlic Spinach and Mascarpone (Adapted from Rachael Ray)

2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
1 large shallot, finely chopped
3 garlic cloves, minced
1/8 to 1/4 teaspoon crushed red pepper
1 1/4 cups pearl barley
1/2 cup dry white wine
1 1/2 cups chicken broth
1 1/2 cups water
salt and fresh ground black pepper
5 ounces fresh spinach
1/2 cup mascarpone cheese, at room temperature
2 ounces (about 1/2 cup) freshly grated Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese, plus additional for serving
1 teaspoon fresh grated lemon zest

In a large skillet, heat oil over medium-high. Stir in shallot, garlic and crushed red pepper - cook until the shallot has softened, about 2 to 3 minutes. Stir in barley - cook, stirring, until lightly toasted, about 2 to 3 minutes. Stir in wine - cook until most of the liquid has been absorbed, about 2 minutes. Add broth, water, 1/2 teaspoon salt and 1/2 teaspoon fresh ground black pepper - bring mixture to a boil, reduce heat to a simmer and cook, covered and stirring occasionally, until the grains are tender but chewy, about 30 to 35 minutes.

Uncover and stir in the spinach, mascarpone, Parmigiano-Reggiano and zest - season with additional salt and fresh ground black pepper to taste. Serve with additional Parmigiano-Reggiano scattered over the top of each portion.

Makes about 6 servings.

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