*This makes a perfect fall dish, and great thanksgiving side dish. The squash can be served on the side, immersed into the risotto or omitted completely if you like. Mushrooms and barley pair well here, and barley is great replacement for white rice! Its very high in selenium and fibre, its a source of B vitamins, vitamin E, and folic acid. This particular recipe has a west African maffe like flavour to it, but if you’re looking for more traditional flavour omit the harissa and nut butter, and replace coconut milk with almond milk. Let me know how you like it!
Ingredients1 cup pearled barley 1 container mushrooms of your choice (button mushrooms work well)
1/2 cup chopped dill or parsley
3 tbs Olive oil
1 butternut squash 2 cloves chopped garlic
1 cup lite coconut milk 3 cups vegetable broth
2 tbs of fresh sage/rosemary or 3/4 teaspoon dried
salt and pepper to taste 2 onions chopped (red onions add some nice color) 2 tbs peanut butter/almond butter/cashew butter (your choice) 1 tsp Harissa (or red curry paste) optional: pine nuts or walnuts for topping
Preheat oven to 400. Cut the squash into block size 2″ pieces, see instructions here. Place pieces of squash in bowl with 1″ of water and microwave for 15 minutes until squash is softened when poked with a fork. (You can also steam it over the stove). Once they are soft, you can prepare oiled cookie sheet, and place squash onto sheet and into the oven until squash turns slightly golden in color and carmelizes (about 20 minutes)
Next chop up onions and mushrooms. Place onions into heated pot with 1-2 tbs olive oil and chopped garlic until onions begin to brown, lower heat to medium low and let carmelize. Add in the chopped mushrooms and tear peices of sage leaves into the mixture, allow for mushrooms to brown and release their juices.
Wash barley well using a mesh strainer, and then add to the pot. Add 2 cups warm broth; bring mixture to boil. Reduce heat and simmer until most of stock is absorbed, stirring frequently, about 5 minutes. Add remaining stock 1/2 cup at a time, stir in the coconut milk, allowing liquid to be absorbed before adding more and stirring frequently until barley is tender, and mushy about 45 minutes.
Mix in the broiled squash pieces into the barley mixture. Add in dill, 2 tablespoons of nut butter and if like a bit of spice try adding in 1 teaspoon of Harissa paste or red curry paste. Season with salt and pepper.
Spoon risotto into bowls and serve immediately topped with grated parmegian and crushed walnuts or pan roasted pine nuts.