Fall Spinach Barley Risotto (Orzotto con Spinaci) is the perfect dish for this time of year! The luxuriousness and creaminess of a risotto done with barley giving it a healthy and nutty edge. I know what I want for dinner, do you?
Barley is not only for soups!
I always thought of barley only to exist in soups. However, that is not the case and today we are going to show you how to do a risotto using barley. Nicoletta and I have done one other barley risotto, with peas. Today it is Fall Spinach Barley Risotto (orzotto con spinaci).
Fall Spinach Barley Risotto with only a few ingredients!
This barley risotto is so simple, all you need is:
- vegetable broth
- e.v.o. oil
- purple onion
- dried red chilis
- Parmigiano Reggiano
Getting started on our Fall Spinach Barley Risotto (orzotto con spinaci)
The key to any good risotto is building flavor. How do you do that, you ask? Well this is how we do it:
- Firstly we want to sauté the onion and garlic in the olive oil in a nice cast pot or deep sauté pan. Once the onions have softened and the garlic is sizzling, time to add in the barley which is washed and drained.
- Secondly, once the barley is toasted, you want to add the white wine. A good stir is needed and when the wine has almost evaporated we start the process of adding the vegetable broth which is on the stove keeping warm.
- Thirdly, add two good ladles of broth, as when that dissipates, and it sounds like the barley is sizzling, time to add another ladle of broth. More so, stir, stir stir. We want to really get the barley to release that starch to achieve that end result of creaminess!
- This process continues for about 20 minutes.
A good creamy spinach note!
We decided to puree some of the spinach which we chopped and shredded. I did it in a small food processor, and pulsed it with some olive oil until velvety. Time to build flavor:
- So we have been adding broth and stirring for some time. Next, we want to add that spinach puree and stir until a lovely consistent hue of green happens throughout the barley.
- Again we add broth and continue the risotto process for some more time and then we add the raw shredded spinach and guess what? Yes stir, lol.
- Around the 40 minute mark, time to add the butter and grated Parmigiano, and a good stir.
The Risotto slap?
In Italy the chefs do this thing where they create a wave with the risotto and it slaps down. This really creates more creaminess and happens when the butter and Parmigiano are added. It is a good way to know all the ingredients have had a dance with each other.
A key step to a great Fall Spinach Barley Risotto (orzotto con spinaci)
Once you have done the wave with the risotto, time to cover and lest rest for a minute. More so, it relaxes the starch and creates the ultimate totally elevated creaminess that we want to achieve!
The barley risotto is done!
It is time to plate. In Italy you will hardly see a risotto mounded into a pile. Usually it is spooned in the plate and the chef will shimmy the plate allowing the risotto to flow over the inside of the bowl! Furthermore, risotto is best served and eaten right away! With that said, take a look. Does that not look so so tasty? A nice garnish of grated Parmigiano is all that is needed!
Love this barley risotto!
The aroma of this Fall Spinach Barley Risotto (orzotto con spinaci) is amazing. The earthiness of the spinach, additions of punchiness from the Parmigiano, and that lovely nuttiness of the barley has me so wanting to dig in and that is exactly what I am going to do.
Wow, luxurious and velvety, a nice al-dente texture in the barley, and the flavors just harmoniously move along my taste buds creating noting but fulfillment and excitement along wit a side of luxurious comfort. Just pure deliciousness in my eyes. Give this Barley Risotto a try it is a perfect dish to start the fall dinner experience Enjoy!
Whole barley or pearled barley?
To reduce the cooking time, you can substitute the whole barley with pearled barley or even quick barley.Print
- ⅔ cup (150 g) barley (whole or pearled)
- 230 g (more or less) fresh spinach
- 8 cups vegetable broth
- 2 tablespoon evo oil
- 1 medium red cipolline onion, minced
- 1 clove garlic, lightly smashed
- pinch of peperoncino
- ¼ cup white wine
- 1 tablespoon butter
- ⅓ cup grated Parmigiano
- Wash and spun the spinach dry, then chop them. Prepare the vegetable broth and leave it on low heat.
- In a large and deep pan (we used a Dutch oven), add the evo oil, the garlic, minced onion, and chili flakes. Sauté for 1-2 minutes.
- Rinse the barley under cold running water. Add it to the pan and stir. Season with salt and pepper and toast for 1 minute.
- Add the white wine and let dissipate, about 2 minutes.
- Slowly, start adding the broth 1-2 ladles at a time.
- In the meantime, purée about 30 g of the chopped spinach with 1 tablespoon of oil and some vegetable broth. Set aside.
- Cook the barley like a risotto, adding 1 ladle of broth as it starts to dissipate. At the 20-minute mark add the spinach puré. Kepp cooking adding the broth and stirring.
- At the 30 minute mark add the rest of the chopped spinach. Stir and keep cooking.
- Whole barley takes a little longer to cook, so it should take about 40 minutes. Taste it for seasoning and doneness.
- Then, add a pat of butter and almost all most of the grated Parmigiano (reserve some for garnishing). Stir vigourously to blend the butter and Parmigiano and obtain the creaminess. Cover with a ladle and let sit for 1-2 minutes.
- Plate and serve immediately with a sprinkle of Parmigiano on top.
This dish can also be done with Arborio or Carnaroli rice.
If using pearled barley, the cooking time is reduced and you will need less broth. Usually, pearled barley cooks in about 30 minutes.
- Prep Time: 10 minutes
- Cook Time: 40 minutes
- Category: Pasta/risotto
- Method: Stovetop
- Cuisine: Italian
Keywords: barley risotto, spinach, garlic, purple onion, vegetable broth, fall, easy recipe, butter
When I am not cooking, I enjoy playing musical instruments, singing, writing. I have learned over the years to live in gratitude and enjoy the moment.