Monday there were leftovers, so it was a nice and easy day, yesterday we had Sweet and Spicy Cashew Chicken, tonight we’ll have a combination of what’s in the fridge and big snacks because of skating and tomorrow we’ll probably have a version of a back bacon, egg and cheese sandwich on an English muffin, because of swimming.  This risotto was part of the dinner I made Mom on Sunday with steak and Beet Pickles, and I borrowed the recipe from Martha Stewart’s Whole Living – I used the mint and we thought it was lovely.

Spring Barley Risotto

2-3 leeks, white and light green parts only, rinsed well and thinly sliced

1 c. pot barley

1/2 c. dry white wine (I used sake)

salt and freshly ground pepper

3-4 c. chicken or vegetable broth

1 lb. asparagus, washed, trimmed and cut into 2-inch pieces

2 c. frozen peas, defrosted

1/2 c. freshly grated Parmesan

1/4 c. thinly sliced mint leaves (optional)

mint leaves for garnish

In a large pot or skillet (I have a large non-stick skillet that I used), heat up a bit of olive oil, add the leeks and barley and cook (stirring regularly) for about 5 minutes until the leeks have started to soften.  Add the wine and cook for a few minutes more until the wine has evaporated.

Start by adding 3 cups of broth and a bit of salt and pepper, bring the mixture to a boil, then reduce the heat to a simmer and cook and stir until the liquid absorbs – about 10 minutes.  Test the barley for tenderness here, you want it to basically be ready before the vegetables go in so a tiny bit chewy is okay, but tender and almost creamy is better – add more broth as needed.

Add in the asparagus and cook, while stirring, for 4 minutes (I like mine still a bit crisp), then add in the peas and cook until they are heated through.  Check for seasonings, then stir in the Parmesan and mint and serve immediately garnished with more mint if you’d like.  Enjoy!

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