Risotto-Style Barley with Spring Greens

Barley gives this a wonderful chewy texture.



Nonstick vegetable oil spray
2 large leeks (white and pale green parts only), chopped
1 fennel bulb, finely chopped (about 1 1/2 cups)
1 teaspoon dried thyme
2 cups pearl barley
6 1/2 cups canned low-salt chicken broth
1/2 teaspoon saffron threads
1 1/2 cups frozen baby lima beans, thawed
1 6-ounce package fresh baby spinach, trimmed, thinly sliced
1/4 cup grated Parmesan cheese
2 tablespoons chopped fresh basil
Fresh basil sprigs


Generously spray heavy large pot with nonstick spray. Place pot over medium-high heat. Add half of leeks and half of fennel to pot. Sauté until vegetables are tender, about 5 minutes. Stir in thyme, then barley. Add 2 1/2 cups broth and saffron. Simmer until liquid is almost absorbed, stirring frequently, about 10 minutes. Add remaining leeks, fennel and 4 cups broth. Bring to simmer. Reduce heat to medium-low and cook until barley is tender and mixture is creamy, stirring often, about 30 minutes.

Meanwhile, cook lima beans in large saucepan of boiling salted water until tender but still bright green, about 3 minutes. Drain.

Add lima beans, spinach, Parmesan cheese and chopped basil to barley and stir to blend. Season with salt and pepper. Transfer mixture to 6 shallow bowls. Garnish with basil sprigs and serve.

Nutritional Information

calories 352
total fat 5 g
saturated fat 1 g
cholesterol 4 mg.

Serves 6


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