R. has wanted to make a risotto for a long time and when we finally saw this recipe in Vegetarian Planet we decided to go for it.  (R. is also a big fan of barley).  When we realized it was going to take about an hour to make, though, we decided to have a steak salad as a first course. The timing (and both dishes) wound up working out perfectly.  I wouldn’t say  the risotto was a particularly “summer” dish, but in Syracuse it’s often difficult to say what season it is, anyway.


  • 5-6 cups water OR stock
  • 1 tbsp butter
  • 4 shallots, minced
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1 1/2 c shiitake mushroom caps, sliced
  • 1 carrot, diced
  • 1 1/2 c barley
  • 1/2 cup parmesan
  • 1/4 cup parsley
  • salt and pepper, to taste
  • lemon juice, to taste


  • Bring water or stock to boil, then reduce heat to low. Heat the butter in a large skillet over medium heat, then add shallots.  Stir-fry for 5 minutes or so, then add carrot, garlic, and mushroom. Cook for another 5 minutes, then add barley.  Stir continuously for 2 minutes.
  • Add 1 cup simmering water/stock, 1 tsp salt, and stir.  Turn the heat to low, add the remaining water/stock 1/2 cup at a time, stirring occasionally and waiting until theliquid is almost completley absorbed before adding more.  This should take about 45 minutes, until barley is soft but still chewy.
  • Stir in parmesan and parsley, season to taste with salt, pepper, and lemon.