Barley Risotto with Fennel and Poached Egg


Barley Risotto with Fennel and Poached Egg

Check out this unconventional version of the traditional Veneto recipe of “risotto ai finocchi“. I used barley instead of standard arborio, and to make it extra rich I added a poached egg on top!

It’s getting chilled here in Salento. Well, no matter how much I like warm weather and sunny days, I’m kinda enjoying a little bit of breeze and colder temperature. For me winter equals to warm soups and rich, filling dishes.

One thing I often make is risotto! However since I am trying to follow a paleo-friendly diet, where rice is not allowed, I have decided to replace the classic arborio with some high fiber and high protein barley.

Using whole grain barley will improve your health along with the flavor of whatever soup or stew you’re cooking. In addition to its robust flavor, barley’s claim to nutritional fame is based on its being a very good source of molybdenum, manganese, dietary fiber, and selenium, and a good source of copper, vitamin B1, chromium, phosphorus, magnesium, and niacin.

About 1 cup of cooked barley, which is about 1/3 cup of uncooked product, provides:

  • 217 calories
  • 1 g fat
  • 10 g fiber
  • 7 g protein
  • 45 g carbs
  • 1 mg manganese (60%)
  • 23 mg selenium (42%)
  • 3 mg copper (34%)
  • .4 mg vitamin B1 (33%)
  • 162 mg phosphorus (23%)
  • 80  mg magnesium (20%)
  • 8 mg vitamin B3 (18%)

Let me show you how you can use it to make risotto 🙂

Ingredients (serves 2):

  • 2/3 cup of uncooked barley
  • 1/2 small onion, finely chopped
  • 1 large fennel heads or 2 small
  • 1 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 tbsp vegetable cream (optional)
  • 1 tbsp chopped parsley
  • salt and ground pepper
  • vegetable broth (about 2 cups)
  • 2 whole eggs

Wash up the fennel and remove the 1st layer

Cut the fennel in 4 parts and slice it very thin

In a large pot saute’ the onion into the olive oil until onion is transparent, about 4- 5 min on low heat. Add the fennel and saute’ it for 3-5 min

Add the barley, stir it into the fennel and onion for a couple of minutes, then add 1 cup of warm broth and let it simmer covered with a lid. Add more broth as needed until the barley is fully cooked. This should take about 30 min.

When ready, add a tbsp of cream and some freshly chopped parsley. Let is sit on your counter covered for 2-3 min.

Meanwhile poached your eggs. My trick to the perfect poached egg is to place the each egg into oiled plastic wrap, close it tight and drop the bag into boiling water for about 3 min.

Plate your risotto and lay one poached egg on top of each serving. Sprinkle some grated Parmesan cheese (if you like) and serve it immediately.










About the author:

An Italian living in China with a strong passion for cooking! Browse my 'left-overs' session for many tasty grub!. Follow her on Twitter / Facebook.