Edamame Asparagus & Pearl Barley Risotto


Risotto is Heaven. 

Risotto, for me, is one of the most beautiful dishes on the planet. It takes a little extra time and love spent stirring at the stove, but the result is the creamiest, most luscious bowl of heart-warming goodness ever. This nutty pearl barley risotto is kissed with beautiful edamame and asparagus, with an extra helping of parmesan (become, of course). So so delicious! 

Often, when we consider dishes like risotto, we tend to forget about the incredible farmers who are responsible for making these meals possible. From the soybean oil and edamame, asparagus, and barley, farmers are the true heroes of the food industry. Ensuring that sustainable ingredients are sustaining our bodies. As a chef, I can only do what I do thanks to the farming industry. Next time you create a dish, or go to the local market, remember the countless folks, like my friends at the United Soybean Council, who often work behind the scenes, to farm the incredible ingredients we use on a daily basis. 

Next time you want to make something special for you & yours, make this risotto friends. You’ll love it! 


Edamame Asparagus & Pearl Barley Risotto 

Makes 4 to 6 servings 

¼ cup soybean oil 

1 large Spanish onion, finely diced 

1 bunch asparagus, tips removed and reserved, and stalks diced fine

4 garlic cloves, minced 

1 ¼ cups pearl barley 

½ cup dry white wine

Zest of 1 lemon 

8 cups chicken stock 

2 tablespoons butter 

1 cup frozen edamame, thawed 

1 cup parmesan cheese, grated on a microplane  

Sea salt and cracked black pepper 

  1. Pour the chicken stock in a large saucepan and bring to a gentle simmer over medium-low heat. 
  2. Heat a large, high-sided skillet over medium-heat and pour in the oil. When the oil is shimmering, add the onion, season with a pinch of sea salt, and cook for 6 – 8 minutes, until softened and translucent. Add the diced asparagus stalks and garlic, and continue cooking for 2 minutes.
  3. Stir in the pearl barley and continue cooking, stirring constantly, for about 3 minutes, or until the grains are well coated in oil, aromatic, and slightly toasted. 
  4. Pour in the wine and add the lemon zest, then continue stirring as the barley quickly absorbs the liquid. Begin adding the chicken stock, about ½ cup at a time, stirring constantly to allow each addition of liquid to absorb into the barley before adding more. Keep a close watch so the barley never becomes dry. It takes all of your attention. It takes some time and love. And it’s completely worth it. 
  5. Continue stirring in the stock until the risotto is tender and super creamy. It will take about 45 minutes, but give the barley a taste to know for sure when it’s done. Slow and steady wins the race here, friends. 
  6. Stir in the butter, cheese, edamame, and reserved asparagus tips, then hit the risotto with a generous pinch of cracked black pepper. Serve immediately. Delicious! 


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