Barley Risotto with Artichokes and Asparagus
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
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.