The first time I ever had mushroom risotto was while visiting a friend in Raleigh, North Carolina. We went to the restaurant where she worked part time and the chef kept sending us goodies to try. Hands down, my favorite food he sent to our table was his mushroom risotto. The second it touched my tongue I knew I was in love. It was extremely rich, but creamy and delicate at the same time. Suddenly, I knew what all the risotto talk was about.
Being a “quick an easy” kind of girl, I never thought much about creating my own risotto recipe. It seemed to me to be a fancy method of cooking rice that I wanted nothing to do with. This was all true and well, until I suddenly came down with an insatiable desire for that mushroom risotto agin. As usual, when I want something, I do everything in my power to get it. Risotto seemed like a more likely option opposed to my other desires like winning the lottery and owning a Dalmatian Plantation **queue the song “We’ll have a dalmatian plantation…”** .
Turns out, the most important part about making risotto is constantly stirring it while its cooking. Guess what, I have an OCD tick where I keep stirring way more than my recipe requires in general. So far so good. Then I learned I did not have the rice that is usually required on hand, so I decided to try it with pearled barley…because why not? Finally, I learned you needed white wine too, but someone drank it all **raises hand** So I decided to try soy sauce, of all things, for flavor instead. The result? The BEST dish I have ever made. It turned out rich, creamy, and a delight in both texture from the chewy barley and flavor from the mushrooms and soy. I’m not kidding. I really thought about it, I think this is the best one. I waited until my husband finished his serving and asked what he thought. What did he say? “Honestly, I think this might be my favorite dish you’ve ever made.” DING DING DING! We have a winner! I cannot wait to try this recipe on the rest of my family during the holidays and our next dinner party. It really is delicious.
While this recipe takes a little more TLC than most of mine, it is still relatively simple. You just have to hover over your stove for about 30-40 minutes. It really doesn’t seem like it takes that long either, because you are constantly adding liquid in 1/4 cup increments and stirring. I just put a podcast on blast and cooked away. Dinner in no time! Another important detail about this recipe is it is best served immediately after cooking. It will retain the same flavor later on, but part of the elegance of the dish is that the barley is “al dente”, where it is still slightly chewy and hard but also cooked through. Trust me, eat it ASAP. You’ll want to anyways 😉
Let me know how you like it in the comments below! Take a picture too and use my hashtag #peppersandpeaches on instagram or twitter so I can see your take on it!
- 1 tbs olive oil
- 2 tbs butter
- 1 cup dry pearled barley
- 12 ounces diced mushrooms (any variety or a mix)
- 1 medium yellow onion
- ½ cup soy sauce
- 2½ cups water
- ½ cup Daiya vegan mozzarella cheese (other cheeses may work but I have not tried)
- Place large skillet on medium heat. Add olive oil and once heated add diced mushrooms. Cook for about 5 minutes until darkened in color and they have shrunken down a bit.
- Pour in a bowl and set aside.
- Using same skillet, add butter and allow to melt.
- Once butter has melted, turn heat from medium to medium high and add the pearled barley. Stir to coat the barley with melted butter. Let cook for about 1 minute.
- Add diced onion to barley and butter mixture and stir to combine. Allow to cook for another minute.
- Pour ¼ cup of the soy sauce into the skillet. Stirring constantly. Once sauce has soaked into barley, add the other ¼ cup of soy sauce and continue to stir.
- Allow the sauce to soak up and then add ¼ cup of water, repeating the stirring and soaking up process and then adding ¼ more water each time. Continue in this method until you have added 3½ cups of water total and you barley mixture is creamy but not liquidy.
- Once this consistency is reached, about 30-40 minutes, remove from heat. Add mushrooms and ½ cup daiya mozzarella cheese and stir. Once cheese is melted into mixture, serve immediately