This recipe, adapted from Cooking Light Magazine, takes full advantage of your garden's dwindling produce and extracts its creaminess from barley instead of rice. You all know how I feel about barley. Rich in fiber and antioxidants, barley's slowly digested complex carbohydrates will keep your metabolism and blood sugar more stable, as well as help keep your tummy feeling full for hours. This was a meal in itself.
Barley Risotto With Eggplant and Tomatoes
6 cups small diced eggplant (this was four rather small eggplants for me)
8 Roma tomatoes, halved lengthwise
4 TBSP olive oil, divided
salt and pepper
5 cups chicken broth
2 cups water
1 onion, small dice
1 cup pearl barley, rinsed (NOT the quick cooking kind)
2 cloves garlic, minced
1/2 cup dry white wine
2 ounces crumbled goat cheese
1/4 cup toasted pine nuts
fresh basil, thinly sliced (for garnish)
Preheat oven to 400 degrees.
Place diced eggplant and tomato halves in a large bowl. Drizzle with two tablespoons of the olive oil. Season with salt and pepper. Spread in a single layer onto baking sheet. Roast in oven for 20 minutes. Remove from heat, let cool a bit, then gently cut tomatoes into bite-size pieces. Set aside.
Combine broth and water in a saucepan and keep warm over medium-low heat.
Heat remaining two tablespoons of oil in a large non-stick saucepan over medium heat. Add onions and saute for 4-5 minutes, until onions have softened and become translucent. Add garlic and rinsed barley and cook for one minute. Add wine and cook for one minute, or until wine has almost evaporated, stirring constantly.
Add one cup broth to pan. Bring to a boil, stirring frequently. Cook for about 5 minutes or until liquid is nearly absorbed, stirring frequently. Add remaining broth, one cup at a time, stirring frequently, until each addition is nearly absorbed before adding the next. This process will take about 45 minutes total.
Gently stir in eggplant and tomatoes. Season again with salt and pepper if needed.
To serve, top with cheese, pine nuts and basil.