Barley Risotto with Herbs and Lemon

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Ingredients

  • 1 cup pearled, hulled, or hull-less barley

  • 8 cups vegetable broth

  • Butter or olive oil

  • 1 medium onion, finely chopped

  • Salt and pepper

  • 1/2 bunch spinach, thick stems removed (about 2 cups)

  • 1/2 bunch parsley, thick stems removed (about 1 cup)

  • Zest of 1 lemon

  • 1 tablespoon Meyer lemon or regular lemon juice

  • 1/2 cup grated parmesan

  • 1/3 cup minced garlic scapes

Process:

  1. Preheat oven to 350°F and toast barley on a baking sheet until golden brown and aromatic (about 10 minutes)

  2. Heat broth in a saucepan on stove and keep warm.

  3. Heat a large shallow saucepan (or deep skillet) over medium heat, adding oil and minced onion. Cook until onion is transparent.

  4. Add barley and 2 cups broth to saucepan. Bring to a boil, stir, then reduce heat to simmer until broth is absorbed.

  5. Keep adding broth in 1/2 cup increments, making sure it’s absorbed before adding more. This can take between 30-50 minutes. Stir very often or constantly (if you have the patience).

  6. Immerse spinach and parsley in boiling water for 5 seconds; remove and drain. (Doing so keeps the bright green color.)

  7. Coarsely chop spinach and parsley, then purée with oil and a splash of water in a blender.

  8. Add lemon zest, a squeeze of lemon juice, and a handful of garlic scapes to the barley mixture.

  9. Remove from heat and mix in the spinach and parsley mixture.

  10. Top with Parmesan if desired!