Barley Risotto with Artichokes and Asparagus | Le Creuset Quince | Kitchen Confidante

Barley Risotto with Artichokes and Asparagus

Barley Risotto with Artichokes and Asparagus | Le Creuset Quince | Kitchen Confidante
Barley Risotto with Artichokes and Asparagus

Barley Risotto with Artichokes and Asparagus | Le Creuset Quince | Kitchen Confidante

Mama, what’s your favorite color?

My daughter asked me this question over the weekend, and I had to stop and think. Hmm. Favorite color. I admitted to her that I really didn’t have one. When it comes to clothing, I love jewel tones because it suits my olive/tan skin. But I have a penchant for soft earthy tones, too. And I like a lot of brown. I don’t really have a favorite.

There was a time, however, when I tried to convince myself that yellow was my favorite color, simply because it was my mother’s favorite. I so wanted to be like her and my aunts — they all adored yellow, and it suited their sunny personalities. I was determined to believe that yellow was mine too. Until one day saw a photo of myself in an unflattering shade of pastel yellow. From that moment on, I decided it was not for me.

Barley Risotto with Artichokes and Asparagus | Le Creuset Quince | Kitchen Confidante | Vegetables

Barley Risotto with Artichokes and Asparagus | Le Creuset Quince | Kitchen Confidante | Bowl of Risotto

Many years later, I have welcomed yellow back into my life. Shades of warm sun have found their way not only into my closet, but my kitchen as well. There’s a sense of glee and relaxation when I see my yellow bowls, the same happiness when I crack an egg and see the deeply hued yolks, or cut into ripe Meyer lemons. Instant happiness.

Barley Risotto with Artichokes and Asparagus | Le Creuset Quince | Kitchen Confidante

I was invited to participate in a fun Williams-Sonoma & Le Creuset Quince Photo Contest to help spread the word about the Quince Collection, the newest Le Creuset color exclusively available at Williams-Sonoma. I’m sure you will agree that the new color is beautiful! I have been putting this Quince braising pan to very good use and it is like spring has arrived early in my little kitchen. Seeing the warm yellow on the stove just makes me smile.

My photo (above) was one of 18 submissions, and I wanted to present it with a dish that celebrates the warmth of spring ahead, Barley Risotto with Artichokes and Asparagus. If my photograph wins by earning the most likes on Pinterest, guess what? Not only will receive a prize, I will receive a set of Le Creuset in Quince to giveaway to one of my readers (retail value $585)!

The set will include:

This Pinterest contest will begin today at 3pm EST and runs until Monday March 4th at 11:59pm EST. If you wish to vote for my photograph, please check out the Pinterest Board and  “LIKE” my picture. You’ll need a Pinterest account…and remember re-pins are awesome (yay!), but we need the most clicks on the “heart” to win!

Thank you so much for your support!!! I really would love to be able to give away a complete Le Creuset Quince to one of you! Crossing fingers :)

Disclosure: I was provided with one Le Creuset Signature Braiser in Quince to style and photograph my submission for the Williams-Sonoma & Le Creuset Quince Photo Contest. All opinions are my own.

Barley Risotto with Artichokes and Asparagus

Serves 4-6. | Prep: 10 minutes | Cook: 30 minutes

Using barley in place of Arborio rice in risotto works beautifully! I love the bite it retains, and it amazes me how creamy the risotto can be. This risotto was a sure winner with my family.


4 tablespoons unsalted butter
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 leek, cleaned, quartered, and thinly sliced
1 garlic clove, minced
2 cups barley
1 cup white wine
5-6 cups chicken stock, kept warm
4 stalks asparagus, cut into 2 inch pieces
4 artichoke hearts, halved
kosher salt
freshly ground black pepper
flat leaf parsley, for garnish
parmesan cheese, for garnish


Heat 2 tablespoons of butter with the olive oil in a deep sided braising or saute pan over medium-low heat. Add the leeks and cook for about two minutes. Add the garlic and cook for another minute. Season lightly with salt and pepper.

Stir in the barley and let the oils coat the grains. Stir in the wine and let it cook until the wine is absorbed. Proceed to stir in the chicken stock, one cup at a time, letting the barley absorb the liquid between additions. Continue until the risotto is creamy and soft, about 30 minutes. You may or may not need to use all the chicken stock. Towards the end of the cooking, add the vegetables and continue to cook, adding chicken stock as necessary, until the asparagus is cooked and just fork tender. Season to taste with salt and pepper.

Take the risotto off the heat and stir in the remaining butter. Serve hot, garnished with chopped parsley and parmesan cheese.


    • liren

      Thank you, Marcie! I am definitely getting antsy for spring and summer and all the produce!

  1. Norma-Platanos, Mangoes and Me!

    What a delight…my two favorite veggies….

    • liren

      Thank you, Laura, I appreciate it! I really am in love with the Quince color – so happy!

  2. Rach

    Yellow is a lovely color. And that pan is lovely. Your risotto recipe looks absolutely delicious!

    • liren

      I wish I could wear more yellow, it makes me instantly happy. I’ll settle for cooking in it :)

  3. Jean

    How fun! You can count on my vote–lovely pictures!

    You can tell from my blog that I love yellow–I just can’t wear it. I still love to look at anything and everything yellow, though. It makes me instantly happy (but green is my favorite color).

    Love the braiser–I’ve found myself using mine for so many different dishes. Would be wonderful to own this beautiful quince shade. :) Again, pretty pictures! Good luck, Liren!

  4. Brian

    Such a beautiful dish! i can’t wait to get back into artichokes and asparagus (not quite ready here in the northeast). Looks amazing!

  5. Daneal

    Hi Liren! I just got my first CSA box today and it contains artichokes. Do you think I could use fresh artichokes in this recipe? (In the picture it looks like you used canned?) Should I steam the hearts before using them? Love your blog! Your recipes and photography are inspiring! Thank you!

    • liren

      Hi Daneal! Oh, absolutely (and how exciting! I just love how the veggies are starting up again!)!! There’s nothing better than fresh, though you are correct, I used jarred artichokes for convenience (and laziness, shh). I would steam the hearts and they will surely taste better than my jarred ones :)

      And thank you SO much for your kind words. That means a whole lot to me.

      Happy Cooking!

  6. Priscilla | ShesCookin

    Yes, sunny yellow has a way of brightening your day! I LOVE this Quince color and the sunny, spring-is-coming dish you prepared in it! Beautiful, Liren. Good luck – i’m pinning and liking your photo right now :)

  7. Jen L | Tartine and Apron Strings

    Hi, Liren! I’ve seen this contest from other bloggers, too! I will be sure to click on yours as well!!! I actually have the Dijon Le Creuset 28 round Dutch oven – not sure how many quarts is that, but I LOVE LE CREUSET! If I could afford their entire line, I would buy them all and use it for everything, everyday!!! This Quince line is a lighter version of their Dijon, but I’m liking it!!! Our kitchen has grey lacquer cabinets and a white stone countertop – severely minimal. BUt when I take out my Dijon Le Creuset, it gives our kitchen that needed pop of colour! So, if only my pot came with this beautiful risotto to eat, it would be PERFECT! Hahaha! So yummy…

  8. Jen

    Wow! Thank you so much for such beautiful pictures and drool-worthy recipes. I just found your blog a couple weeks ago and I’m finding it so inspiring! I’m going to try making the Barley Risotto tonight.

  9. Perry Decourt

    Arborio rice is an Italian short-grain rice. It is named after the town of Arborio, in the Po Valley, where it is grown. When cooked, the rounded grains are firm, creamy, and chewy, due to its higher amylopectin starch content;[1] thus, it has a starchy taste but blends well with other flavours. It is used to make risotto, although Carnaroli, Maratelli and Vialone Nano are sometimes used to prepare the dish. Arborio rice is also used for rice pudding.,

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  10. Cindy

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