Barley makes for a heartier and nutrient-rich take on the classic risotto made with Arborio rice. You can add well-cooked chicken if you like, or for a vegetarian version, try cannellini beans or tofu.
- Thoroughly rinse fresh produce under warm running water for 20 seconds. Scrub to remove excess dirt.
- Heat 2 tablespoons olive oil over medium-low heat in a medium saucepan. Add shallot and cook until softened, 3 to 5 minutes. Add barley and stir well to combine so each kernel is coated.
- Increase heat to medium high and toast barley, stirring constantly, for 3 minutes. Add 2 tablespoons stock and stir. Continue to add stock, ¼ cup at a time, while continuing to stir, allowing stock to absorb into barley. Continue adding stock until barley is tender, about 30 minutes.
- While barley is cooking, heat remaining 2 teaspoons olive oil in a small pan. Add butternut squash and salt and cook over low heat until tender and cooked through, about 15 minutes.
- When barley is tender and most of the stock has been absorbed, add cooked butternut squash and stir well to combine. Add feta, if desired.
- To serve, risotto should register 145 degrees Fahrenheit or higher on an instant-read thermometer placed in the middle of the dish. Refrigerate risotto within one hour of cooking and eat any leftovers within 48 hours.