I was all ready to share with you some tasty zucchini-centric meals this week.
However, my zucchinis were side-lined in the fridge once I went on a mission to find tomatoes. It is easy to find red imposters. You know, the things that look like tomatoes but don’t taste like tomatoes… but I wanted summer fresh tomatoes. My quest brought me to my closest farmer’s market where I quickly scurried from stall to stall, sniffing their tomatoes. Sniffing out the imposters.
All of a sudden, it hit me. Tomato. I smelled it. I found my winning tomatoes. Bright red smallish heirloom tomatoes that looked lumpy and stout. The flavour did not disappoint. I brought home 2 pints to make this risotto I had bookmarked last year, waiting for this summer’s tomato bounty.
Super simple to make, I can’t believe it has been so long since I’ve made a risotto. Dump all the ingredients into a pot, let it simmer until the barley is tender. Towards the end, I kept adding more and more stock until a creamy, yet chewy barley risotto was attained. Positively drenched in silky tomatoes, speckled with chunks of garlic, with a hint of lemon and thyme and a depthness from smoked paprika, this made a delicious end-of-summer meal.
Sadly, now that I have re-discovered barley risottos, I have very little barley left. I don’t plan on replenishing it, either. I suppose I will have to try out spelt berries risottos, instead!
Of course the real quandary is whether to buy a HUGE bushel crate of San Marzano tomatoes. A Portuguese grocer near my home is selling them for $19. I bet they would be wonderful all roasted and I could try my hand at canning. But could I eat my way through all of the tomatoes?
Here are some other whole grain risottos I have my eye on:
Rustic Rebel Risotto from Radiance 4 Life
Red Beet Risotto with Walnuts from Big Vegan
Easy Creamy Tomato Barley Risotto from Vegan Yum Yum
Creamy Barley Risotto with Thyme and Star Anise from Let Them Eat Vegan
Tempeh Orzilla from Post Punk Kitchen
Pesto Risotto with Roasted Zucchini from Post Punk Kitchen
Saffron Speltotto with Roasted Cherry Tomatoes from River Cottage
Lemon-Kissed Tomato Barley Risotto
Adapted from Ottolenghi
1 tbsp olive oil
2 whole heads garlic, cloves separated, peeled and coarsely chopped (I used 20 cloves)
750g fresh tomatoes, peeled (if you want) and chopped
1 cup passata (or crushed tomatoes)
1/2 tsp smoked paprika
1/4 tsp Aleppo chilli flakes
1 tsp dried thyme, plus fresh thyme for garnish
lemon zest from half a lemon
1 tsp salt
1.25 cups (270g) pot barley, well rinsed in cold water and drained
1-2 cups water (I used 1 cup water and 1 cup vegetable broth), as needed
1 tbsp fresh lemon juice
1 tsp agave or sweetener of choice
salt and pepper, to taste
1. Ina large pot over medium heat, heat the oil. Add the garlic and saute until golden and fragrant , around 3 minutes. Do not let it burn. Add the tomatoes, passata, smoked paprika, chili flakes, thyme, lemon zest, salt and barley. Add 1 cup of water.
2. Bring to a boil and allow to simmer for 45-75 minutes, until the barley is tender. Stir occasionally, especially closer to the end. Add water as required. I ended up adding at least another cup (in 1/4 cup increments) of vegetable broth until my barley was tender.
3. Add lemon juice and sweetener. Adjust salt and pepper to taste. Garnish with fresh thyme.