Thursday, July 12, 2012

Risotto-Style Barley and Sauz-eege

For years now, I’ve been wanting to make risotto, but a) I don’t have the patience to stand over a fire like a chest-banging cavewoman so that I can constantly stir a pot of rice until it eventually takes on a creamy texture and b) I prefer whole grains over anything that Uncle Ben may or may not have promoted in an orange box. Don’t get me wrong, I adore white rice, but due to the excess poundage that has recently taken up residence on my body, I need to reduce the white and increase the tan. This is why I love, love, love barley-  because it can act as a chubby stand-in for rice, and more importantly, it’s a whole grain that’s packed with fiber. This is how I came to make “Frisotto”.

The first time I made this recipe, it was over 90 degrees outside, and let me tell you- I was miserable standing over that open flame, but after it was finally time to wipe the sweat mustache from off my face and serve the meal, I gave a deep sigh of relief and soaked up all the yumminess! This is definitely more of a cool-weather meal, but I’m a loon and tend to think that every day is an appropriate day to spark up a heat-emitting appliance, just like the way I feel that ballet flats with legit soft leather soles are appropriate footwear to sport during a weather channel-worthy snow storm. You may think I’m kidding, but I can assure you on every level that this is entirely true and the reason that my left second toe was numb for the majority of the winter season.  

The next time I make this, I will use my crock pot, which has been a Godsend.

So anyway, crank of your AC, strip down to your skivvies, and make this dish tonight. It’s definitely worth it.

¾ pound chicken sausage (or you can try ground turkey and add more seasonings such as 2 cloves garlic, salt, pepper, basil)
1 28-ounce can diced tomatoes in juice
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 small boiling onion, finely chopped
1 cup barley
1/2 cup dry white wine (I used the absolute cheapest bottle I could find)
5 cups water
1 red bell pepper
1 tsp fennel seeds
1 bag baby spinach (usually comes in 6-ounce bags)
Parmesan Cheese
Salt and pepper to taste

1. Remove casings from sausage.

2. In a large stock pot, combine the sausage, onions, red pepper, olive oil, fennel seeds and garlic. With a wooden spoon, break up the sausage. Allow the sausage to cook and the onions, garlic, and red pepper get soft.

3. After a few minutes, add white wine.  A few minutes later, add the barley, undrained tomatoes (yup... just dump the whole can in), and water.

4. Allow to simmer for about 45 minutes.  Add spinach, stir in, and cover. Allow the spinach to wilt for a few minutes. Add salt and pepper to taste.

5. Just before serving, sprinkle Parmesan cheese over the top. As usual, shredded is best, but grated will work just fine!
Pin It

1 comment:

  1. This has legit changed my life! I adore risotto and eat it at least a few times per month, which, as it is largely refined arborio, is not heart or hip friendly. I am doing this tonight. Will report back. EXCELLENT idea.