- 1 quart Ruby Port (optional)
- 1 1/4 tablespoons olive oil, plus extra for brushing
- 1/4 cup chopped onion
- 1 cup pearl barley
- 3 to 4 cups mushroom stock
- 1/2 pound assorted mushrooms (such as Shiitake, Cremini, Chanterelles and white button), sliced
- Salt and pepper
- 2 tablespoons chopped tomato
- 2 large whole Portobello mushrooms, stems removed
- 2 tablespoons butter
- 1 tablespoon heavy cream
- 2 tablespoons grated Parmesan cheese plus extra for garnish
- 1 tablespoon basil chiffonnade (leaves stacked, rolled and thinly sliced), plus extra for garnish
- Fried parsnip strips, for garnish (optional)
- Begin port reduction, if using: In a small saucepan over low heat bring port to a slow boil, reduce heat and simmer until syrupy and sweet, and reduced to 1/2 cup, at least 30 minutes, checking from time to time.
- Meanwhile, in a saucepan heat 1 tablespoon oil, add onion and cook until tender and golden. Add barley and stir to coat completely in oil. Add just enough mushroom stock to cover and bring to a boil, stirring constantly. Reduce heat and simmer, stirring constantly. Add more stock, 1/2 to 1 cup at a time, as liquid is absorbed. Continue adding liquid until barley is tender, tasting frequently. When barley is done, it should be slightly soupy, like a risotto. Continue with remaining recipe steps while barley cooks.
- In a separate sauté pan heat remaining oil, add sliced mushrooms and sauté until lightly browned and tender; season with salt and pepper. Add tomatoes and cook 2 minutes more.
- Preheat barbecue, grill or stovetop grill over high heat. Brush portobello mushrooms with oil and grill, turning once, until tender and grill marks appear on cap.
- To finish, stir mushroom-tomato mixture into barley. Vigorously stir in butter and cream. Stir in Parmesan and basil. Using grilled mushroom as a cup, mound barley "risotto" in center and sprinkle with parsnip strips, if using. Sprinkle with extra Parmesan and basil. Drizzle with port reduction and serve immediately.
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