Serious Eats: Recipes

Dinner Tonight: Barley Risotto with Cauliflower and Red Wine

[Photograph: Nick Kindelsperger]

I'm really not one for screwing around with recipes that have worked for hundreds of years. You know, mucking things up by substituting supposedly "healthier" or more "in vogue" ingredients. And believe me, risotto needs no help. It's perfect the way it is.

Initially the idea of replacing rice with barley seemed a little too health-conscious for me. But according to the New York Times, the Italians make a similar dish called orzotto, so I decided to try this—and I'm really glad I did.

Though this didn't have the pleasing natural creaminess of risotto, it has a deeper flavor, and it's still warming and tender. Some of that comes from the cauliflower, one of my favorite vegetables, which adds a delicious nutty note. Sure, I found the recipe in the "Fitness and Nutrition" section of the New York Times, but when it's this good, labels don't really matter, right?

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