Wednesday 11 May 2011

Pearl Barley Risotto With Asparagus And Broad Beans

Meh, you say. Another recipe in lieu of holiday snaps... BUT! I finished editing last night! Yay! So, any day now, folks. Thank you for your patience!

In the meantime, here is my favourite asparagus recipe. As well as summer berries, asparagus is one of the things I cannot bring myself to buy out of season. It just does not taste the same any other time of year, and it will also be overly expensive. Consequently, every May and June, I incorporate A LOT of asparagus into our meals, to the extent that Marco gets quite sick of eating it. I don't, I love it. And hey, I'm the cook in this relationship, so guess who gets to decide on the menu!

I sometimes just steam the asparagus to add to a salad or serve it as soldiers with an egg, or I make the classic combination of asparagus and new potatoes with Sauce Hollandaise. I also make this risotto quite a lot and am using the recipe for the third year now. It tastes like spring! I found the original here, and have tweaked it a little over time. Here goes...

(serves 4)

Need To Have:

1 cup pearl barley
2 bunches of green asparagus (500g), ends removed and cut into bite-size pieces
1 cup fresh or frozen broad beans
2 tbsp olive oil
2 medium onions, finely diced
salt & pepper
1/2 cup Martini Bianco or other vermouth
finely grated zest and juice of 1 lemon
500 ml vegetable bouillon, hot
2 tbsp fresh tarragon, chopped (or 2 tsp dried)
generous knob of butter

Need To Do:

Soak the barley in cold water for 20 minutes. Drain and rinse thoroughly.

While the barley is soaking, bring a large pot of water to the boil. Add the asparagus and cook until just tender, about 3 minutes. Remove the asparagus with a slotted spoon and set aside to cool.

Bring water back to the boil and quickly blanch the broad beans for about 1 minute. Remove with a slotted spoon and also set aside to cool.

Bring water to the boil once more and add the drained barley. Let simmer for 20 minutes.

When the beans have cooled enough to touch, remove the shells.

When the barley has finished cooking, rinse and set aside.

In a deep pan or large saucepan, heat the olive oil over medium heat. Add the onions and season with salt and pepper. Sweat the onions over a low heat until they soften, stirring them from time to time, being careful not to brown them.

Add the pearl barley and stir until all the grains are covered in oil and start to smell slightly nutty, about 3 minutes.

Add the vermouth and lemon juice and stir until all the liquid has been soaked up.

Start adding the bouillon by the ladleful, stirring after each addition until the liquid has been absorbed. Do not let the pan get too dry. After you have added all the bouillon, the barley should be tender with a bit of bite. The grains will start to puff open slightly after 15 to 20 minutes, which is what you want to achieve.

Remove the risotto from the heat and gently fold in the asparagus, beans, lemon zest, and tarragon. Mix through some butter to taste, and season again with salt and pepper if necessary.

© Annika - All The Live Long Day (unless otherwise stated)


  1. lecker! ich liebe Risotto...viele Grüße

  2. I saw your comment on my blog and I wanted to thank you :)

    Also...this recipe looks goooood. I'm on a diet, but I think this would fit in nicely.

  3. YUM sounds delicious!

  4. Mmm, I love love love love asparagus risotto! I like this Vermouth part in your recipe though... :)


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