Barley stars in risotto dish


May 05, 2004|By Liz Atwood | Liz Atwood,Sun Food Editor

Barley may be best known as an ingredient for soups and stews, but this wholesome grain can adapt to warm-weather dishes as well.

Here's a barley risotto recipe from the National Barley Foods Council that is a twist on the traditional Italian favorite and makes a great entree for a spring dinner party.

Place 1 pound of asparagus on a cookie sheet and sprinkle with 1 teaspoon of olive oil, rolling spears to coat. Roast in a 400-degree oven for 8 minutes; set aside.

In a medium-heavy pan, heat 3 teaspoons of olive oil over medium-high heat. Add 4 sliced shallots, 1 1/4 cups uncooked pearl barley and 1 tablespoon of fresh thyme leaves (or 1 teaspoon dried). Cook and stir for 3 minutes.

Add 5 cups of fat-free chicken broth, 3/4 cup at a time, cooking and stirring until just absorbed. Add 1 cup dry white wine, stirring and cooking until absorbed (about 25 minutes). Stir in 1/4 cup Reggiano-Parmigiano cheese and 1/4 cup toasted, finely chopped walnuts.

Divide asparagus among 4 plates. Top with risotto and garnish with red bell pepper, fresh thyme leaves and lemon slices if desired.

Per serving: 450 calories; 21 grams protein; 60 grams carbohydrate; 13 grams fiber; 11 grams fat; 4 milligrams cholesterol; 314 milligrams sodium

-- Analysis from National Barley Foods Council

50 years on American tables

Another baby boomer turns 50 this year. It was in 1954 that Ore-Ida introduced American consumers to Tater Tots. According to a survey by Heinz, which owns the brand, 82 percent of Americans have eaten Tater Tots at least once. To celebrate the milestone, Heinz is introducing an extra-crispy version this spring.

Before you know it, it's done

Want your grilled steak in a hurry? With a combination of infrared and convection heat, Solaire's grills are ready to cook in just three minutes and cook twice as fast as traditional grills.

The secret is in the infrared technology that applies intense, direct heat no matter the weather. For cooks reluctant to change their methods entirely, the Solaire grills also come with traditional convection burners.

New this year is a 27-inch grill that sells for $945 for a built-in model and $1,295 for one on a pedestal.

For information, visit or call Rasmussen Gas Logs and Grills at 800-782-1365.

Making a pitch for men's health

As part of its campaign to get folks to eat more fruit and vegetables, the National Cancer Institute is asking American men to report to personal spring training.

Pegged to the advent of baseball season, the campaign reminds men that nine isn't only the number of innings in a baseball game or the number of players on the field. It is also the number of servings of fruit and vegetables men need each day. In addition, the campaign urges men to get more physically active. So rather than just watch, go out and play.

For more information, visit


* Did you give up your day job to run your own food business? The Food Network is looking for entrepreneurs to feature on its new series, Recipe for Success. For a chance to be featured, visit, click on Contests & Offers and then click Audience Input.

* Taste pinot noir from around the world at 6 p.m. to 8 p.m. tomorrow at Bin 604, 604 S. Exeter St. $29 in advance, $35 at the door. Call 410-576-0444.

* Learn to make cold soups 7 p.m. Tuesday at For the Love of Food in Reisterstown. $40. Call 877-246-2634.

The Dish welcomes food news and notes. Send to The Dish, Attn.: Liz Atwood, The Sun, 501 N. Calvert St., Baltimore, MD 21278; fax to 410-783-2519; e-mail

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