Here’s a risotto recipe with a bit more nutritional bang to it. Instead of Arborio, I use pearl barley which is packed with more vitamins and fiber. It is still creamy AF and hella tasty. Healthy risotto for the win.
In a large saute pan, melt half of the butter over a medium-low heat. Add the barley and toast it in the butter for about 5 minutes, careful not to burn. It will darken in color and the butter and grain will put off a nutty aroma.
Transfer the toasted barley to a separate dish.
Melt the remaining butter and add the mirepoix. Mirepoix is two parts onion, one part carrot, and one part celery, all evenly chopped. Saute for about five minutes, until the onions sweat and soften.
Add the minced garlic and cook for another minute.
Add the toasted barley back to the pan along with the white wine and 1 cup of broth. Bring to a low simmer over a medium heat and cook for about 10 minutes, until the barley absorbs most of the liquid. It’s important to keep this at a low simmer as to not cook off the liquid too fast.
Repeat the above step, adding ½ cup of broth at a time, bringing to a low simmer, until all broth has been added and absorbed by the barley. It’s okay if the mixture is liquidy as long as the barley is fully cooked. It should be tender. This will take about 45 minutes.
Add the Parmesan cheese and fold it into the mixture.
Turn off the heat and add in the spinach. Fold in the spinach and let the heat from risotto wilt it.
Top with more Parm and serve.