Tuesday, April 14, 2015

Spicy Barley Risotto

I am a big fan of chile-infused olive oil. The gentle heat and amazing taste is perfect drizzled over pizza or pasta and is wonderful as a dipping oil with toasted french or sourdough bread. I drizzle it over everything, eggs, vegetables, potatoes (try with mashed) or anything you can think of. My newest favorite is from Pranzo Italian Grill in Santa Fe, New Mexico. The Red Chile Chimayo infused oil is prepared and bottled in the restaurant's kitchen. The ingredients listed on the bottle read "contains imported cold-pressed extra virgin olive oil and Chimayo red chile-nothing else!"

I featured the chile oil in this barley risotto recipe. The smokey-sweet flavor works really well with the hearty barley, sauteed onions and peppers. This "risotto" is a bit different from the classic version. Barley is used in place of the more typical arborio rice, and the liquid can be added all at once versus the one ladleful at a time technique. This makes it even easier to prepare on a weeknight, but the dish is special enough to serve as the first course of a fancy dinner party. Enjoy! (Oh...and try the infused olive oil...delicious)

Spicy Barley Risotto
(serves 6)

3 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
1 white onion, chopped
1 red bell pepper, chopped
2 garlic cloves, minced
2 cups barley
6 cups vegetable stock
1/2 cup white wine
1/4 cup Italian parsley, chopped
2 tablespoons chile-infused olive oil, plus more for drizzling (or 2 tablespoons olive oil and 1 tsp red pepper flakes)
1/2 cup parmigiano-reggiano cheese, shredded, plus more for sprinkling
sea salt
black pepper

Warm olive oil in large saucepan. Add onion and bell pepper and saute until onion is soft and translucent. (about 5 minutes) Add garlic and cook an additional minute. Add barley and stir to ensure it is coated with oil.

Add stock, wine and a pinch each salt and pepper. Stir to combine. Bring to a boil and the reduce heat to medium-low. Cook, frequently stirring, until barley is tender and creamy, and all liquid is absorbed. (35-45 minutes) Stir in parsley, chile-infused olive oil  and 1/2 cup cheese. Taste and adjust seasonings if necessary. Serve with additional cheese and chile-infused oil drizzled over the top.


  1. This sounds truly amazing, right up my alley! It takes me back to our visit to Santa Fe and Taos and has me yearning to visit again immediately. This is definitely going on my must make list with the adaptation of rice or other gf grain in place of the barley. Cannot wait!!

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