This is not a classic risotto, but barley gives it whole-grain healthfulness and an interesting texture. The turnips cook at the same time as the barley, but if you have leftover roasted turnips, you can use them instead, stirring in cubes of them after the barley is tender, along with the miso.
Servings: 2 appetizer servings
- 1 1/2 to 2 cups vegetable broth
- 2 teaspoons toasted sesame oil, plus more for drizzling
- 1 large shallot lobe, coarsely chopped (2 tablespoons)
- 1 medium clove garlic, coarsely chopped
- One 5-ounce turnip, peeled and cut into 1/2-inch dice (1 cup)
- 3/4 cup pearled barley
- 1/4 cup Shaoxing (Chinese cooking wine), mirin (Japanese cooking wine) or dry sherry
- 1 to 2 teaspoons red or white miso, whisked with 1 tablespoon warm water
- One 2-inch piece nori, cut into slices or crumbled (optional, for garnish)
Heat the broth in a small saucepan over medium heat, then reduce the heat to very low and cover the pan to keep the broth warm.
Heat the oil in another small saucepan over medium heat. When it shimmers, add the shallot, garlic and turnip and cook for 3 or 4 minutes, stirring, until the shallot and garlic soften. Add the barley and cook for just a minute or two, stirring to coat all of the grains in the oil. Add the Shaoxing, mirin or sherry and cook for about 2 minutes, until evaporated.
Add about 1/2 cup of the hot broth to the barley mixture and cook, stirring frequently but not constantly, until the liquid has mostly evaporated. Continue adding broth a little at a time in this way for 30 to 45 minutes, until the barley is tender.
Stir in the miso, cook for a minute or two, and add vegetable broth or water to create a creamy, loose texture. Spoon the risotto onto a serving plate: It should spread and should not be stiff, so add enough liquid to achieve that consistency.
Drizzle a little sesame oil over the risotto, garnish with sliced or crumbled nori, if desired, and eat.
From Food editor Joe Yonan, author of "Serve Yourself: Nightly Adventures in Cooking for One" (Ten Speed Press, 2011).
Tested by Joe Yonan.
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