Replace rice with pearled barley for this deliciously creamy and easy risotto recipe with roasted sweet potato and carrot. The pretty bright chunks of sweet potato will melt perfectly in your mouth with the chewy barley. Add ribbons of basil for a sweet taste of spring.
For the Italian purists out there, no, technically this isn’t a risotto, but I think you'll find it quite nice. It’s made with barley instead of Arborio rice and there’s no white wine needed. Instead, a great pile of Parmesan coats the barley and vegetables to mimic the velvety texture of a traditional risotto.
Easy Risotto Recipe with Barley and Sweet Potatoes
1 small sweet potato
1 small carrot, peeled and finely chopped
1 red onion, finely chopped
1 clove garlic, finely chopped
2 tablespoons olive oil
2 cups vegetable broth
1 cup pearled barley
10 basil leaves, cut into thin ribbons
1 cup grated Parmesan cheese
½ teaspoon salt
Preheat the oven to 400 degrees Fahrenheit. Prick the sweet potato with a fork a few times and roast, skin on, for 35 minutes. Remove to cool, then peel and cut into small cubes.
Pre-cook the barley. Add 2 cups water and 1 cup barley to a pot with a lid. Bring to a boil and then simmer for 25 minutes. If excess water remains, drain it.
In a small skillet, heat the olive oil over medium heat. Add the onions, carrots and garlic to the pan and cook until the vegetables start to soften, about ten minutes. Add the barley and 1 cup of vegetable broth. Bring to a steady boil over medium heat and cook for 10 minutes, stirring constantly.
The barley will absorb the vegetable broth. Continue to add the vegetable broth, ¼ cup at a time until the barley is completely cooked, about 15 minutes. Stir in ¾ cup of the Parmesan and cook, add ½ teaspoon salt to taste. Just before you serve, stir in the last ¼ cup of Parmesan and basil.
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Photos by Ally-Jane