Risotto is one of my favorite foods. I love everything about it. It can, however, be a bit rich, and not exactly health food. You all know that doesn't stop me, though, I adhere to the "everything in moderation" school of thought. It can also be a bit time consuming, so unless you want to spend 40 minutes standing in the kitchen stirring (this is only ok when you have a kitchen buddy and a glass of wine in hand), it's not the best for a weeknight meal. This is my long-winded way of saying that while Roasted Butternut Squash Risotto is one of my favorite meals of all time, I was intrigued when I saw this recipe for a healthier, easier alternative.
Butternut Squash Barley Risotto
recipe from Good Housekeeping
2 Tablespoons butter
2 shallots, sliced (I used half an onion)
2 springs fresh thyme (I used 1/2 teaspoon dried)
2 cups pearl barley
4 cups chicken or vegetable broth
2 cups water
1 butternut squash (2 1/2 pounds, or so), peeled, seeded and cut into 1/2 inch cubes
Grated Parmesan cheese
In a frying pan, melt 1 Tablespoon butter. Cook shallots or onion for 2 minutes. Add thyme, cook 30 seconds. Add barley and stir for 2 minutes, until toasted.
Transfer mixture to a crock pot, and add in broth, water, squash and salt.
Cook on high for 3 1/2-4 hours, until liquid is absorbed and squash is cooked. I thought things looked a little watery at 4 hours, so I put the lid ajar for another 30 minutes.
Stir in Parmesan, 1 Tablespoon butter, and season with salt and pepper to taste.
Garnish with Parmesan and parsley.
This made an entire crock pot full. Fortunately, I have a recipe for how to transform the leftovers. Come back to read it!