Slow-Cooker Asparagus-Barley Risotto

Lighten your cooking load and liven up your Easter spread with our easy slow-cooker risotto. This creamy rice dish is usually made with[ Arborio rice, but we love it with the toothsome nuttiness (and fiber) of barley. Have your guests add a squeeze of lemon for an extra pop of brightness.]

Total Time:
4 hr
Prep:
20 min
Cook:
3 hr 40 min

Yield:
8 servings
Level:
Easy

Ingredients
  • 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1 large onion, finely chopped
  • Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 1/2 cups pearled barley
  • 2 sprigs fresh thyme
  • 3 cups low-sodium vegetable broth
  • 1 pound (1 bunch) asparagus, rough stalks trimmed and cut into 1-inch pieces
  • 2/3 cup grated Parmesan
  • Zest of 1 lemon, plus lemon wedges, for serving
  • 1/4 cup roughly chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley
  • 1/4 cup roughly chopped fresh mint
Directions
  • Heat the oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Add the onions, 1/2 teaspoon salt and 1/8 teaspoon pepper, and cook, stirring occasionally, until lightly browned, about 5 minutes. Stir in the barley and thyme, and cook, stirring, until the barley is just golden, about 2 minutes more.

  • Transfer the barley mixture to a 6-quart slow cooker, and add the broth, 1 1/2 cups water and 1/2 teaspoon salt. Cover, and cook on high until the liquid is absorbed and the barley is tender, about 3 hours.

  • Discard the thyme, and stir in the asparagus. Return the lid to the pot, and cook until the asparagus is tender, 30 minutes more. Stir in the Parmesan, lemon zest, 1 teaspoon salt and 1/4 teaspoon pepper. Thin out the risotto to the desired consistency with warm water, as needed. Fold in the parsley and mint, and serve with lemon wedges on the side.

  • Copyright 2015 Television Food Network, G.P. All rights reserved.

Cook's Note: If your asparagus seem extra woody, give the stalks a quick peel before cutting.


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    This recipe is featured in:

    Easter