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Author Notes: Who says Arborio rice is the only one who deserves the risotto treatment? Cook nutty barley and mushrooms with vegetable stock until al dente and creamy, then add kale, roasted squash, and plenty of Parmesan cheese. It's warming and autumnal and still feels very good-for-you, probably because it is. —Catherine Lamb
Serves 8 to 10
- 1 medium-sized butternut squash, peeled and cubed
- 2 tablespoons olive oil, divided
- 1 tablespoon butter
- 1 1/2 cups barley
- 1/2 cup white wine
- 1 bunch kale, chopped (about 2 cups)
- 1 cup grated Parmesan (or sharp cheese of your choice)
- Freshly ground pepper
- Preheat the oven to 400 °F. Lay out your squash in an even layer on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper. Drizzle with a tablespoon of olive oil and sprinkle generously with salt and pepper. Toss to coat, then put in the oven to roast for 20 to 25 minutes, or until the squash is tender. Remove from the oven and set aside.
- Heat the remaining olive oil and butter in a large pan over medium heat. Add in the onion and a pinch of salt and cook until translucent, about 5 minutes. Add the garlic and cook for another 2 minutes.
- Add the barley, stir, and let it toast for 2 minutes. Then add in the white wine and stir, waiting a minute or two for the barley to toast slightly. Add in a ladleful (or half cupful) of warm vegetable stock, then stir. When most of the stock has been absorbed, add another ladleful of stock and stir. Continue to gradually add stock and stir until all the stock has been added and the barley is al dente. You don't want all the liquid to absorb, or else you'll have a dry barley-sotto: you want it to be slightly soupy. Turn off the heat.
- Fold in the chopped kale and allow to wilt. Add in the grated cheese and roasted butternut squash. Serve in heaping bowlfuls, garnished with a snowdrift of cheese.