Garlicky Green Bean Barley Risotto with Apple and Sage

Tonight, I felt like making a risotto. What can I say? I like standing for long periods ladling and stirring. It’s quite therapeutic during the crazy season aka mall visits in December.

It’s like everyone’s barrier between normalcy and madness shatters and everyone is completely out of their mind. My motto in general, which helps me during these times is “Simply wait.” If they’re in a bigger rush, let them go first. People cut in line, stand in doorways or aisles. Simply wait. You have time to breathe. There’s always time to let someone go first. To wait that extra two minutes for them to pause and check their shopping list or answer a text. It’s ok. Simply wait.

That takes me to the risotto I made tonight. I didn’t have any short grain Italian style rice to do traditional risotto, but I always have unhulled barley from a nearby farm. Yes, barley takes longer to make than traditional risotto, but it’s okay. Simply wait. It’s worth it 🙂

Garlicky Green Bean Barley Risotto with Apple and Sage

1 tsp cold pressed canola oil

1 medium onion, peeled and chopped

3 cloves garlic, peeled and chopped

1/2 apple, finely grated (or use 2 Tbsp apple sauce)

1/4 cup unhulled barley (or pearl barley)

5-1/2 to 6 cup chicken or vegetable stock

1 Tbsp fresh sage, sliced (or 1 tsp dried sage)

1 cup fresh green beans, cut into 2cm/1″ pieces, blanched for 10 minutes then cooled in ice water

1 tsp salt

1/2 tsp ground black pepper

50-75g/2-3 oz shredded pecorino cheese

   In a medium pot on the back burner, heat up the stock and keep it at a simmer over medium low heat.

   In a medium wide-bottomed pan over medium heat, add the oil. When just heated, add the onion and half of the garlic. Sauté until they are fragrant, softened and the onions are just starting to brown along the edges. Add the grated apple and sauté to draw out more of the moisture. Once it is thick like a butter, add the dry barley and toast it in the apple-onion mixture. Once you smell a toasted, nutty aroma, add a ladle of hot stock. Stir gently, ensuring all of the ingredients are covered and have an opportunity to absorb the simmering stock. As the stock absorbs until it is almost dry, add another ladle of stock. Continue this ladle, stir, absorb, repeat pattern for another 25 minutes. At this point add the sage. Repeat the ladle, stir absorb pattern until the barley is just cooked through (about another 35-40 minutes.

   Take off the heat, stir in the cooked green beans, cheese, salt and pepper. Serves 2.

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