One pot risotto is perfect for a cool evening meal but this dish has a twist using healthier pearled barley instead of Arborio rice. Butternut squash and Parmigiano-Reggiano add a rich flavor.
2 1/2 c. peeled, chopped butternut squash
2 tbsp. extra-virgin olive oil
Freshly ground pepper
5 c. low-sodium chicken or vegetable broth
1/2 c. chopped yellow onion
2 small garlic cloves
1 1/2 c. pearled barley
3/4 c. dry white wine
1 tsp. fresh thyme
3/4 c. grated Parmigiano-Reggiano
1. Heat oven to 400 degrees F. Toss squash with 1 tablespoon oil. Season with salt and pepper. Spread in a single layer on a parchment-lined baking pan and roast until tender, about 25 minutes, turning once halfway through. Set aside.
2. Meanwhile, in a medium saucepan over medium- high heat, bring broth to a gentle boil; then reduce heat to low. In a large saucepan over medium heat, heat remaining 1 tablespoon olive oil. Add onion, garlic, 1/2 teaspoon salt, and 1/2 teaspoon pepper and cook until softened, about 6 minutes. Add barley and cook, stirring, for 2 minutes. Add wine and stir constantly until absorbed, about 1 minute. Add 1/2 cup broth, 1 teaspoon thyme, and lemon zest; stir frequently until liquid is absorbed.
3. Repeat with remaining broth, adding 1/2 cup at a time, until barley is tender yet al dente, about 30 minutes. Remove from heat and stir in cheese. Season with salt and pepper if needed. Gently fold in squash and garnish with thyme.