Learn from my mistakes (Barley risotto with heirloom tomato salsa)

I had some barley in my pantry from Trader Joe's and wanted to use it.  It had a recipe for risotto on the side that sounded good.  I had a big pretty heirloom tomato on my shelf that needed some love too so I decided to return to vegetarianism and make them combine for a meatless lunch week.  

I made the risotto and thought it was okay and then gasped when I realized I forgot the half and half I meant to put in it at the store.  It was still okay, but would have been angelic with the half and half. The heirloom tomato salsa was amazing!  I ended up having some chicken that week with the salsa and it was divine!

So while this is a fail, it is a fail due to user error and y'all know I like to admit my mistakes.  So try this sometime and add the half and half.  Barley is so good for you that  you will feel good about having risotto!  Full recipe to follow the montage.

Barley risotto with heirloom tomato salsa
The cast.  The avocado was for lagniappe.
Barley risotto with heirloom tomato salsa
My two good friends onion and garlic
Barley risotto with heirloom tomato salsa
Heirloom Tomatoes are so pretty!
Barley risotto with heirloom tomato salsa
Kind of reminds me of rice a roni!
Barley risotto with heirloom tomato salsa
This would be very good on a chip, just saying!
Barley risotto with heirloom tomato salsa
Looks alright, but man some half and half would be good!
Barley risotto with heirloom tomato salsa
Parceled out for a work lunch!

Risotto-Style Barley with heirloom tomato salsa
Adapted from Trader Joe's 10 Minute Barley

1 Quart Chicken Broth
4 Tbsp Extra Virgin Olive Oil
1 Cup Diced Onion
3 Cloves Garlic, minced
1 Package of TJ's 10 Minute Barley
3/4 cup half and half (I accidentally left this out and regretted it)
Salt and Pepper to Taste
1/2 cup white wine
1 Tbsp Butter

Bring broth to a gentle simmer. In a separate skillet, heat oil and add onions and garlic. Sauté until translucent, about five minutes.Stir in the barley and coat with oil. Toast barley until color begins to appear, about five minutes. Begin to add stock to the barley 1/4 cup at a time, allowing each cup to fully absorb into the barley, around two minutes at medium heat. Stir, stir, stir. Continue adding stock until the barley is softly al-dente, about 20-25 minutes. Add in the half and half before the barley is fully saturated. Continue stirring. Once mostly absorbed, add the butter and cheeses. Mix until melted and incorporate.

Heirloom tomato salsa:

One large heirloom tomato, chopped
1/4 cup of cilantro minced (about a tbsp. once cut)
1/4 cup of mint minced (about a tbsp. once cut)
1 tsp. olive oil (spicy if you have it)
Juice of one lime
Salt and pepper to taste

Combine all ingredients in a bowl and stir.  Allow to sit for a half hour before serving.

Happy Cooking!


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