Parsnip barley risotto

Parsnips are one of those vegetables, like turnips, that I didn’t encounter until my 20s. While I love a good turnip, I’d have to say parsnips have edged their way into my culinary routine a bit more robustly. Being so wonderful roasted, I had never really thought to venture beyond my ‘snip chips. That is, until I decided to adapt a parsnip risotto recipe from the beautiful cookbook Vegetarian, by Alice Hart.

In honor of my brother’s visit to Portland, I wanted to make something special and especially hearty–you’ll understand if you know my brother–and risotto sounded like a decent idea. Except, however, I am making a concerted effort to avoid refined grains as much as possible, and that renders arborio rice (the kind typically used to make risotto) a less appealing option. I’ve written about my short-grain brown rice risottos on this blog before, and they are quite delicious, but prohibitively time consuming in this instance. So I decided that pearl barley would be a nice quicker-cooking substitute. Also, pearl barley is a good source of fiber, protein, iron, selenium, magnesium, and other exciting vitamins and minerals. Fully convinced, I proceeded with my parsnip barley-risotto plans.

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Ingredients

4 cups veggie stock

1 Tbsp butter

2 Tbsp olive oil

2 shallots, finely chopped

2 large parsnips, coarsely grated

4 small sage leaves, finely shredded

1 1/3 cups pearl barley

1/3 cup dry white wine

2 Tbsp marscapone, plus extra

plenty of parmesan, finely grated

1/2 a bunch of kale, washed and torn into small pieces

parsnip crisps for garnish (basically ‘snip chips, but don’t slice the ‘snips, shave them with a vegetable peeler)

Method

Heat your stock and let it simmer on the stove

In a large pan or skillet, melt the butter and add the oil.

Add the shallots, parsnips, and sage, and cook, stirring, for about 5 minutes.

Stir in the barley so it becomes well integrated with the parsnips, etc, and cook for 1 minute.

Add the wine, stirring, until it evaporates.

Add the hot stock little by little (I did about a 1/2 cup at a time) stirring, and adding more stock as it is soaked up by the barley. Do this for about 30 minutes, or until your barley is nice and plump. You can add the kale during this process as well.

Remove from the heat and stir in half of the marscapone and lots of parmesan.

Cover, and set aside for 5 minutes. Then mix in the rest of the cheese.

Serve with parsnip crisps and another dollop of marscapone! (You really earned the extra dollop if you grated the parsnips yourself).

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