Spring Barley Risotto

Ya, ya, I know. I'm on a Power Foods kick lately. I just can't seem to get enough of this awesome book. I don't think Will can either with all the delicious health meals I've been making! For this post I'll save you the trouble of clicking over to another link and include the directions below. This recipe is an awesome vegetarian dish that can easily be adapted to include canned tuna or salmon, or omit the cheese and make it vegan! Instead of using mint I opted for fresh tarragon, but either would be lovely.

Spring Barley Risotto, serves 4


2 tablespoons olive oil
1 cup pearl barley
2 leeks, white and pale green parts only,
thinly sliced, washed and drained well
1/2  cup dry white wine
2 cups water
2 cups vegetable broth
1 bunch asparagus, tough ends trimmed,
cut on the diagonal into 2-inch pieces
1package (10 oz) frozen peas, thawed
1/2 cup grated parmesan cheese (optional)
1/4 cup packed thinly sliced fresh mint leaves

In a large saucepan, heat oil over medium. Add barley and leeks; cook, stirring occasionally, until they begin to soften, 5 to 7 minutes. Add wine; cook, stirring, until evaporated, about 7 minutes. Add the water and bring to a boil; add 1/2 teaspoon salt and season pepper to taste. Reduce heat; simmer, stirring occasionally, until liquid has been absorbed, about 10 to 15 minutes.

Add broth and continue to cook, stirring occasionally, until barley is tender and liquid is creamy, about 10 minutes. Add asparagus; cook until tender, about 5 minutes. Stir in peas and cook just until heated through. Remove from heat. Stir in parmesan and mint; season with pepper. Garnish with extra mint leaves, and serve.

recipe courtesy of power foods, from the editors of  whole living magazine