This one-pot meal marries risotto magic with a good-for-you grain
02 Nov 2017 - 10:51
By Bonnie S Benwick | The Washington Post
A warm and slithery slurp of minestrone is all well and good, but I'm even more partial to the next-day thickening that occurs when the soup's pasta or grains have been refrigerated in tomato-y broth. The effect is risotto-like, encouraging recipe developers to affix "-otto" to the tail end of such dish names.
This barlotto is my new favorite of that genre, made with pearl barley. What the grain loses in fiber - vs. its hulled counterpart - it makes up for by cooking faster while retaining a characteristic chew. Here, sun-dried tomatoes amp up the red flavor, and the squash cooks just long enough in the one-pot mix to become tender.
You could toss in fresh or dried herbs, but I like the simplicity of the dish's onion and garlic.
Should you find yourself with chilled leftovers, dig in with a spoon before you warm them up with a slosh of water or more vegetable broth.
Mediterranean Barlotto (3 servings)
Whether it's called pearl barley or pearled barley or 365 Brand's "organic Italian barley" that cooks in 10 minutes, what you need for this recipe is barley without its bran and/or endosperm - it will be lighter in color and faster cooking than barley that is simply labeled as "hulled." And it will thicken, like risotto rice, in this easy mix; hence, the name "barlotto."
The original recipe called for a whole zucchini and a whole squash; if you went with that instead of the halves we are using here, this dish could serve 4. This reheats well; add water or more broth, as needed.
Serve with warm garlic bread.
Adapted from "Eat Your Way to a Healthy Gut: Tackle Digestive Complaints by Changing the Way You Eat, in 50 Recipes," by Dale Pinnock (Quadrille, 2017).
1/2 large red onion
3 cloves garlic
1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
1/2 medium zucchini
1/2 medium yellow squash
1 whole roasted red pepper (from a jar)
8 sun-dried tomatoes (vacuum-packed, preferably)
1 1/2 cups pearl barley (see headnote)
4 1/2 cups no-salt-added vegetable broth
2 cups no-salt-added canned crushed tomatoes and their juices
Shavings of Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese, for serving (optional)
Mince the onion (about 3/4 cup) and garlic; together is okay.
Heat the oil in a large nonstick skillet or saute pan over medium heat. Once the oil shimmers, stir in the onion and garlic. Add a three-fingered pinch of the salt and cook for 6 to 8 minutes, until softened, stirring as needed.
Meanwhile, trim the zucchini and squash halves, then cut them each into thin rounds. Coarsely chop the roasted red pepper. Cut each sun-dried tomato in half lengthwise.
Stir the pearl barley into the skillet; cook for a minute or two, then add the zucchini, squash, roasted red pepper and sun-dried tomatoes, stirring to incorporate.
Add about one-quarter of the broth; cook for a few minutes, then stir in a half cup. Continue in the same gradual cook-and-add manner to use a total of 2 1/2 cups of the broth.
Add the canned tomatoes and their juices; once the liquid returns to bubbling at the edges, taste the barley to check for doneness. If it seems a little chewy or firm, gradually add some or all the remaining broth, cooking until the pearl barley plumps and thickens the mixture like a risotto. Taste and season with more salt, as needed.
Divide among warmed bowls; top with the cheese, if using, and serve right away.
Nutrition | Per serving (using 1/4 teaspoon salt): 540 calories, 14 g protein, 103 g carbohydrates, 6 g fat, 1 g saturated fat, 0 mg cholesterol, 370 mg sodium, 16 g dietary fiber, 20 g sugar