With prosciutto crisps! Don’t punch me in the pancreas, vegetarians.
Have you ever swapped in barley in place of arborio rice? Oh man you should. It’s crazy. Totally new take on risotto.
I’m not new to barley risotto, I just hardly ever make it or think about it. Which isn’t rightly selling this, is it.
Basically the exact same as risotto, but with barley! AND you can get quick-cooking barley and it’ll zip this thing together in a snap and a half.
But we need to discuss the mushroom situation.
Because I’m (too?) honest and need to tell you what went down.
I wanted shiitake mushrooms. I love shiitake mushrooms. Pungent but mild. Earthy but mellow. But my store only had DRIED shiitake mushrooms. So I said to no one, “Okay, this will be great. I’ll rehydrate them and they’ll be magically complex!” (I didn’t say magically complex. Except I did.)
. . . . I don’t like rehydrated mushrooms. Do I get kicked out of the blogosphere because of this? I can’t do it. I cannot do rehydrated mushrooms. AND WHY AM I GETTING A SQUIGGLY LINE UNDER REHYDRATED.
Now, before you start eyeing the giant X in your upper right hand corner, hear me out. You’re still a good person if you like rehydrated mushrooms. And you can use rehydrated mushrooms in this risotto. You can! I want you to be happy in life!
But they were too intense for me. You’re like, “You’re too intense for me.”
Regular shiitakes would be the way to go here. I made this long ago WITH regular shiitakes and souls exploded. Frickin’ heart chamber confetti. So go with regular shiitakes.
Unless you love rehydrated mushrooms! I’ve said rehydrated way too much today.
So like regular risotto, sauté some onions and garlic in some buttah. Then add in a cup of barley and just toss it around, letting it toast up a bit.
You can add a splash of white wine at this point to start the liquids, or just dive into chicken stock.
We should start a band called Diving Into Chicken Stock.
Wait, are you already gone?
After about 20 minutes of ladling in the chicken stock a half cup at a time, the barley will cook and plump and absorb all the liquid. Then you’ll stir the shiitakes back in, turn off the heat and add in another pat of butter and a heavy hand of freshly grated parmesan, lemon juice and parsley. (<—aka: your secret weapons.)
Goodness gracious sakes alive.
Look at that! Those prosciutto crisps all nestled on top like baby birds with a blanket of parmesan earth worms. (<–ignore all that.)
This is DELICIOUS. I can’t even tell you. And of course once it was all together with the lemon and the cheese and the prosciutto crisps I was like, “OKAY THE REHYDRATED MUSHROOMS WORK.” But I still would have preferred fresh. So you heard it hear first, folks. Fresh over dried. The end.
Unless you prefer dried! You do you. The end.
But go with fresh! The end.
(Only if you want!)
You need to get in that.
Are we okay?