Barley Basil Risotto with Corn

I finally had barley for the first time and I liked it!  It is bland on it’s own, but you can add just about anything to it.  The feel in my mouth is a cross between al dente pasta and oatmeal.  It is not mushy at all.

I did a search for barley recipes for some ideas.  Here is what I came up with…


1 cup pearl barley

3 cups water

1/2 large onion

1 15.25 ounce can of corn

1/4 cup parmesan cheese

1/4 cup fresh bail leaves

salt to taste

pepper to taste

a splash of white wine

1 Tbsp olive oil

Simmer the barley in the water for 45 minutes or until the liquid is almost gone.  In a separate skillet, heat a tablespoon of olive oil on medium-high heat.  Add the onion and cook for a few minutes.  Add the corn to the onions and cook for a few more minutes, until the corn and onion start to turn brown.  I like the charred flavor!  Add the onion/corn mixture to the barley when the water is almost gone.  Add a splash of white wine.  Cook for a few minutes to cook off the alcohol.  Add the parmesan cheese and chopped basil leaves.  Season with salt and pepper.  Combine, sprinkle with a little more parmesan cheese and serve immediately!

I now know that hulled barley is more nutritious than pearl barley.  You could substitute that if you want to.  I will look for hulled barley the time I am at the store and compare the texture.  I did not pre-soak the barley since I couldn’t wait to try it!  I am not a very patient person :).  If you pre-soak the barley, it cuts the cooking time to 15-20 minutes.

The corn is crisp, the barley firm, the basil fresh and bright, the parmesan cheese creamy and the wine tangy.  Perfect!

If you try this, let me know what you think!