8. Barley Risotto with Peas & Asparagus
"This dish has been one of the most popular from my book thus far, which is crazy because who knew barley would be such a hit? This springtime favorite is filling and flavorful, and it really makes barley much more palatable."

-½ pound (8 ounces) asparagus spears
-2 tablespoons plus 1 teaspoon extra-virgin olive oil, divided
-2½ cups low-sodium vegetable broth
-½ medium yellow onion, peeled and chopped
-2 large cloves garlic, peeled and finely chopped
-1 large leek, thinly sliced (white part only)
-1 cup quick-cook barley
-zest and juice of 2 small lemons
-1½ cups English peas
-½ cup grated Parmesan cheese

1. Preheat oven to 425°F. Drizzle asparagus with 1 teaspoon olive oil. Roast in the oven on a large
baking pan 12 to 15 minutes.
2. Chop asparagus into smaller pieces (about 1 inch long) to be added to the risotto.
3. While asparagus is roasting, bring broth to a boil in a small pan. Then lower the temperature just enough to keep warm.
4. In a large pot, heat remaining 2 tablespoons olive oil on medium. Add onion, garlic, and leek,
and cook 5 minutes.
5. Add barley and cook 1 minute, stirring occasionally.
6. Add lemon zest and ½ cup of the warm broth, and cook until broth is absorbed. Stir frequently.
7. Continue adding broth in ½-cup increments until the barley is cooked and tender. When you
have 1 cup left, add peas. Then continue to add the last cup ½ cup at a time.
8. Once all the broth has been added and absorbed, mix in the asparagus, lemon juice, and
Parmesan cheese. Serve warm.