I feel like I got back from Mexico, blinked and it was Christmas. I also feel like I probably say this every year.
The sad part is, I was trying to be proactive and actually made this risotto for my friend Dana pre-Mexico so that I could post it shortly after I wrote about my trip to Tulum.
A month later, here I am.
But enough apologizing. Let's talk risotto. Similar to my farrotto and my brown rice risotto... I decided to use a whole grain to keep it healthy but still cook in the traditional risotto style. This dish also utilizes some of my favorite fall/winter produce: brussels sprouts, fennel and apple.
I wanted the brussels sprouts to keep their bright green color in the finished dish, so I decided to quickly cook these first. Simply saute the thinly sliced brussels sprouts in olive oil for a couple minutes until they start to soften. Season with salt and pepper and transfer to a bowl. Using the same pan, saute the diced apple for a few minutes as well. (Similar to the sprouts, I didn't want the apples breaking down in the risotto cooking process, so I also cooked them separately). Transfer cooked apple to the same bowl as the brussels sprouts.
Using the same pan, saute the onion, garlic and fennel in a little olive oil until they've softened a little. Add the barley, stir, and allow to toast for a couple of minutes. Next, add the white wine, stir and cook until absorbed. Add a half cup of warm chicken broth and cook until absorbed. Continue this process until the barley is done to your liking. (I prefer it a bit al dente, with a fair amount of bite and chewiness).
Once the barley is cooked to your liking, stir in the brussels sprouts, apples and some freshly grated Parmesan and allow to cook a couple minutes longer so that everything is warmed through. Serve topped with fennel fronds and shaved Parmesan.
Seriously though... where did December go?
Barley Risotto with Brussels Sprouts, Fennel & Apple
Prep Time: 15 minutes
Cook Time: 45 minutes
Keywords: saute entree barley brussels sprouts fennel apple Italian fall winter
Ingredients (2 entrees or 4 side servings)
- 4-5 cups chicken broth
- 2 tablespoons olive oil, divided use
- 1 cup thinly sliced brussels sprouts
- 1 apple, cored and diced
- 1 small yellow onion, diced
- 2 cloves garlic, minced
- 1 fennel bulb, core removed and thinly sliced (reserve some of the fronds for garnish)
- 1 cup pearled barley
- 1/2 cup dry white wine
- 1/4 cup freshly grated Parmesan, plus shaved Parmesan for serving
- salt & pepper
- Place broth in a medium saucepan and warm over medium-low heat. Cover and keep on low simmer.
- In a deep saute pan, heat 2 teaspoons olive oil over medium heat. Add sliced brussels sprouts and cook 2-3 minutes or until slightly softened (but still bright green). Season with salt and pepper and transfer to a bowl. Add 2 more teaspoons olive oil to the pan and cook the diced apple until slightly softened, about 4-5 minutes. Season with salt and pepper and transfer to the bowl with the brussels sprouts.
- In the same pan, add another tablespoon of olive oil and saute the garlic, fennel and onion until slightly softened. Add barley and toast for 2-3 minutes until coated with oil and fragrant. Add white wine and allow to cook until completely absorbed.
- Begin adding warm broth, about 1/2 cup at a time to the barley. Cook until it has been absorbed, stirring occasionally. Continue repeating this process, adding 1/2 cup of broth at a time and allowing barley to absorb it until barley is cooked to your liking.
- Stir in the brussels sprouts, apples and some freshly grated Parmesan and allow to cook a couple minutes longer so that everything is warmed through. Season to taste with salt and pepper and serve topped with a few sprigs of fennel fronds and shaved Parmesan.
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