Melt the butter in a medium saucepan over medium heat. Add the onion and cook, stirring occasionally, until soft and lightly golden brown, about 6 minutes. Add the barley and stir until the grains are just coated in butter. Add the broth and 1/2 teaspoon of salt and bring to a boil. Reduce the heat to medium low, cover and simmer 20 minutes. Uncover and quickly stir in the spaghetti; cover and continue to simmer until most of the liquid is absorbed and the barley and spaghetti are tender, stirring once more, about 15 minutes more. Remove from heat and let sit, covered, for 10 minutes.
Season to taste with salt and pepper and sprinkle with chopped chives.
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