2000s Recipes + Menus

Roasted Cauliflower Barley Risotto

  • Active time:1 hr
  • Start to finish:1 1/4 hr
March 2009
Food editor Ian Knauer enjoys experimenting with home-brewing, so he understands how roasting malted barley can impart a deeper flavor to the final beer. He figured, rightly, that toasting barley (left over from Brown Rice and Barley) in a dry pot would also add an extra dimension to this hearty twist on risotto. Studded with roasted cauliflower and enriched with butter and Parmigiano-Reggiano, this one-dish dinner tastes just right on a chilly night.
  • 1 medium head cauliflower, cored
  • 4 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil, divided
  • 1 cup pearl barley
  • 3 1/2 cups reduced-sodium chicken broth
  • 1 1/2 cups water
  • 4 garlic cloves, thinly sliced
  • 1/4 cup dry white wine
  • 1/2 cup grated Parmigiano-Reggiano
  • 2 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • 2 tablespoons finely chopped flat-leaf parsley
  • Preheat oven to 425°F with rack in upper third.
  • Cut cauliflower into 1/2-inch pieces and toss with 2 Tbsp oil and 1/4 tsp each of salt and pepper. Spread in 1 layer in a large 4-sided sheet pan and roast, stirring occasionally, until cauliflower is tender and well browned, 20 to 30 minutes.
  • While cauliflower roasts, toast barley in a dry 4-qt heavy pot over medium heat, stirring constantly, until fragrant and golden, 5 to 10 minutes. Transfer to a bowl.
  • Bring broth and water to a simmer in a small saucepan.
  • Cook garlic in remaining 2 Tbsp oil in 4-qt pot over medium heat, stirring, until pale golden, 1 to 2 minutes. Add barley, stirring to coat. Add wine and simmer briskly, stirring, until absorbed, about 1 minute. Add 1/2 cup hot broth and briskly simmer, stirring, until absorbed. Continue simmering and adding hot broth, about 1/2 cup at a time, stirring constantly and letting each addition be absorbed before adding the next, until barley is just tender and creamy-looking, about 30 minutes (you may have broth left over).
  • Stir in cauliflower, cheese, butter, and salt and pepper to taste. Stir in parsley and thin with some of remaining broth if desired.
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