Broccolini Pesto Barley Risotto

by Rebekahcooked up on March 13, 2014

The past couple of days in Portland have been a total dream in terms of weather. The sky is blue, temperatures are in the 60s and flowers are popping up everywhere. I might – knock on wood – even be able to put some seeds in the ground this weekend and begin my daily obsessing in the backyard. It’s so nice, in fact, that even the ants are coming out and hanging out in my kitchen! (Dear ants: My house is the last house you want to be in. I will come after you with whatever toxic chemicals are out there. Love, Rebekah).

Yesterday when I was making my prosciutto-wrapped broccoli, I was also making this broccolini pesto barley risotto.

Barley Broccolini Pesto Risotto | PDXfoodlove

And sipping some Chateau Ste. Michelle Pinot Grigio. I don’t even go for Pinot Grigios that often. But I am really enjoying this one. I highly recommend it.

It feels like spring. I’ve left my coat and umbrella at home for two days in a row (knock on wood). And until it stops feeling like spring again, I’m going to hit the spring veggies hard. Who’s with me?

Here’s what you need:
3 Tbsp. butter
1/2 white onion, diced
3 cloves garlic, minced
1 lb. broccolini, washed and cut into 3/4-inch pieces, then divided in half
1 1/2 cups of pearl barley*
3-4 cups, ish, broth, stock or water
1 cup snap peas
3/5 cup walnuts or other soft nuts
1/4 cup olive oil, though you may need more
2 Tbsp. lemon juice
3 more cloves garlic
1/2 cup grated Parmesan cheese
salt and pepper
Optional: goat cheese to stir in – highly recommended!

*You can probably tell from the photo that we did not only use pearl barley – we ran out so we used half coarse bulgur. It worked just fine!

Start by melting the butter in a large skillet over medium heat. When the butter is melted, toss in the onion, first batch of garlic and and half of the broccolini. Saute for 3-4 minutes before adding in the barley/grains. Stir and toast for another 3-4 minutes.

Next, add the stock or broth in, one cup at a time. Cover and bring to a simmer. Continue to simmer until the barley is cooked but still has some bite. Toss in the snap peas toward the end.

While you are simmering, make the pesto. Put the other half of the broccolini, the walnuts, 1/4 cup olive oil, lemon juice, garlic, Parmesan and a heavy dose of salt into the food processor and pulse until it becomes a thick paste. You may need or want to add more olive oil to change the consistency.

When the barley is cooked, stir in a few heaping spoonfuls of the pesto and taste. Add more salt if needed. Top with a dollop of goat cheese.

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