Pearl Barley & Asparagus Risotto with Parmesan Recipe

I tend not to stick with the "this recipe for winter, that recipe for spring" regime. I had been dilly-dallying looking for excuses not to give this heart-warming dinner a try. I must be honest and say I had never once tried barley (with anything) before now. It got the thumbs up from my guests this evening so I will try and cook pearl barley more frequently.

Prep Time: 10 minutes
Cook Time: 30-35 minutes
Serves: 4

150 g pearl barley
1/2 small onion, finely chopped
2 tbsp olive oil
3 tbsp butter
60 ml white wine
750 ml chicken or vegetable stock
125 g fresh asparagus spears, pre-boiled for 2 minutes
50 g Parmesan cheese, shaved
20 g fresh basil
salt and pepper

1. Pour the chicken stock into a saucepan and bring to a boil. Reduce to a simmer and place a lid on the pot to keep it warm.

2. Heat up another pot over medium heat, then add the olive oil. Add the onion and cook for 5 minutes, until slightly softened.

3. Add the pearl barley and toast for 2 minutes, stirring frequently.

4. Add the white wine, and cook for another minute until absorbed.

5.  Add the hot stock a little bit at a time, adding just enough to cover the surface of the barley. Stir the barley frequently, for the next 25 minutes or so, until the barley is al dente.

6. Remove from the heat and stir in the Parmesan, asparagus, and herbs. Sprinkle with the shaved Parmesan cheese.