Barley Risotto with Shrimp

This is one of the “farmer’s market inspired” dishes.  For this recipe, I used fresh from the market zucchini and summer squash.  Of course, most vegetables would work here such as asparagus, green beans, or broccoli, but the texture of the zucchini matches perfectly with the creaminess of the risotto.  While it does take about 40 minutes and some patience with consistent stirring, this is a great weeknight meal as you probably have most of the ingredients in your pantry.  Enjoy!

Barley Risotto with Shrimp

adapted from 

4 cups fat-free, less-sodium chicken broth

1 Tbl olive oil

2 cups chopped onion

2 cups chopped zucchini/summer squash

1 cup pearled barley

1/2 pound medium shrimp, peeled and deveined

1/4 cup grated Parmesan cheese

1 tsp dried (or fresh if you have it) thyme

1 tsp butter

salt and pepper, to taste




1. Bring broth to a simmer in a medium saucepan; keep warm.

2. Heat oil in a large non-stick skillet over medium-high heat. Add zucchini/squash and onion; saute 5 minutes or until onions are translucent, stirring frequently. Add thyme and lightly salt and pepper (you can add more later).  Zucchini should be barely tender at this point so that you do not overcook it during the risotto process.

3. Add barley to pan and cook for one minute, stirring constantly.

4. Stir in 1 cup broth (you can eyeball this by just pouring it out of the saucepan) and cook 5 minutes or until liquid is nearly absorbed, stirring frequently.

5. Add remaining broth, 1/2 cup at a time, stirring frequently (and I mean it- Keep stirring!!) until each portion of broth is absorbed before adding the next (about 30 minutes or so).

6. Add shrimp; cook 4 minutes. Stir in cheese, butter, and any extra salt and pepper to taste.

***Do keep in mind that these are actual meals made at night (always in a rush) in my already dark kitchen.  Sorry that my photos are not up to par, but I hope the flavor of the dish will speak for itself.



Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s