This Mushroom Barley Risotto was one of my experiments in cooking with the pressure cooker, and I must say I am in love.
Not just with the ease of making it, which goes without saying since a pressure cooker takes so much of the time and effort out of cooking, but with the fact that this risotto is creamy and delicious and quite perfect. Much, much better than stovetop versions I’ve made before.
The pressure cooking makes the barley perfectly tender without overcooking it, and the fluids added to the risotto — a stock from the wild mushrooms and a plain old vegetable stock — ensure that it is as flavorful as can be.
I used this recipe as a rough guide, mainly to follow the cooking times, and improvised as I went along. Because this risotto, like most risotto recipes, has wine added to it, I wanted to answer a question I often get from readers with kids: can we leave out the wine?
The answer is yes, but with a rider. The wine adds a distinct flavor that’s important to the risotto, and while leaving it out would still yield a delicious recipe, it won’t be as authentic. The alcohol is not going to get your child drunk– if that’s what you’re worried about — because it cooks out entirely during the process. You’d be more likely to get drunk on a handful of grapes.
- 1 cup wild dry mushrooms soaked in 2 cups boiling water for 30 minutes, then sliced. Reserve the stock
- 2 cups cremini mushrooms sliced
- 1 cup pearl barley
- 1 tbsp + 1 tsp of olive oil or avocado oil
- 1 medium yellow onion finely chopped
- 2 cloves garlic minced
- 3 cups vegetable stock
- 1/4 cup white wine
- 1 tbsp fresh chopped thyme
- 1/2 tsp dry rosemary or use 1 tsp fresh
- Salt and ground black pepper to taste
- 1/4 cup chopped fresh parsley
- 1/2 cup raw cashews blended into a very fine paste with 1/2 cup water
- Heat 1 tbsp oil in a pressure cooker.
- Add the onions and garlic, season with some salt and pepper, and cook 3-5 minutes over a medium flame until the onions start to sweat.
- Add the thyme, rosemary, and the soaked dry mushrooms. Add the wine and saute until all of the liquid has evaporated.
- Add the barley, stir it in, and then add the vegetable stock and the reserved mushroom stock (be sure not to add any grit that may have settled at the bottom of the mushroom stock). Season with more salt and ground black pepper.
- Click the pressure cooker lid in place, bring the cooker to pressure over high heat, then turn the heat down to a point where it will maintain the pressure at high, and let it go for 18 more minutes.
- While the risotto is cooking, heat the remaining 1 tsp of oil and add the sliced cremini mushrooms to it. Season with salt and pepper. Saute, stirring, until all of the liquid has evaporated and the mushrooms have caramelized. Turn off heat.
- When the pressure has released (you can do this by releasing the pressure manually per your cooker directions. I usually just prefer to wait until the pressure has released on its own), open the lid and stir in the cremini mushrooms, cashew paste and parsley. Season with more salt at this point if needed.
- Serve hot.