Barley Risotto with Eggplant and Tomatoes

Here is another one from Cooking light. This recipe taught me how to make risotto and it is delicious with the roasted eggplant and tomatoes but can be completely customized. Add whatever vegetable you like, whatever cheese or nut, I doubt you can go wrong! Risotto is cooked with broth that is added gradually while being stirred constantly to release the starch, which gives the dish a wonderful creamy texture, unlike regular rices that are covered and steamed.

  • 6 cups diced eggplant
  • 1 pint cherry tomatoes
  • 3 tbsp olive oil, divided
  • 1/2 tsp black pepper, divided
  • 5 cups fat-free, less-sodium broth (you can use chicken, beef or vegetable)
  • 2 cups water
  • 1 1/2 cups finely chopped onion
  • 1 cup uncooked pearl barely
  • 2 tsp minced garlic
  • 1/2 dry white wine
  • 1/4 tsp. salt
  • 1/2 cup crumbled soft goat cheese
  • 1/4 cup thinly sliced basil
  • 1/4 pine nuts, toasted

Preheat oven to 400. Combine eggplant, tomatoes, 2 tbsp oil and 1/4 tsp pepper in a bowl, toss to coat. Arrange mixture on a baking sheet in a single layer, bake for 20 minutes. Set aside.

Combine broth and water in a saucepan, bring to a simmer but do not boil. Keep warm over low heat. Heat remaining oil in a large non stick skillet over med-high heat. Add onion, Saute 4 minutes.

Stir in barley and garlic, cook 1 minute.

Add wine, cook 1 minute or until liquid almost evaporates, stirring constantly.

Add 1 cup broth mixture to pan, bring to boil, stirring frequently. Cook 5 minutes or until liquid in nearly absorbed, stirring constantly. Add remaining broth mixture, 1 cup at a time, stirring constantly until each portion of broth mixture is absorbed before adding the next cup. (about 40 minutes total.)

When risotto is done, gently stir in eggplant mixture, remaining pepper and salt. Top with cheese, basil and nuts.