I couldn’t wait for spring. I’ve already started cleaning out the freezers. Who knew I had accumulated so many parmesan rinds? Time to make broth! If you have just a couple of rinds, you can throw them into most any soup or stew—not just minestrone—to add depth. If family life (or life life) keeps you from your rinds beyond their metastasis, you can brew a full-on parmesan broth. I pressure cooked the cheesy stock for 20 minutes and was rewarded with an indulgent infusion, perfect for a catch-all slow cooker risotto-style side dish. (I will warn y’all about the goopy pan residue. But we’re in the mood for cleaning now anyways, right?) Making my way through a frozen cache of roasted spaghetti squash, plus some stashed barley, I came up with this autumnally nuanced, comforting blend.
With a composition more veggie than grain, this recipe keeps it light enough for spring time.
CLEARING HOUSE SLOW COOKER BARLEY RISOTTO serves a big family as a side dish, or a smaller family as a main course
- 2/3 cup organic pearled barley. I buy barley in bulk. Remember to bring your own container.
- 2 cups cooked local spaghetti squash. I recommend roasting. I just roast the whole thing on a baking sheet at 350º until it collapses. I scrape out the pre-shredded flesh with a fork and freeze what I won’t be using soon.
- 3½ to 4 cups good broth. Reggiano broth works very well for this recipe and keeps the dish vegetarian.
- one sprig of fresh backyard sage. This heady herb’s easy to grow. Give it a try!
- ¼ teaspoon turmeric
- ½ teaspoon salt. I like Real Salt.
- 1 or 2 drops almond extract
- plenty of fresh local parlsey, chopped
Put everything except the parsley in the slow cooker and cook on LOW for 3 to 3½ hours, until the barley is done “to your own tooth.” Stir in parsley. Serve with grated Parmigiano-Reggiano or Texas’ own Veldhuizen parmesan, available from Greenling‘s local food delivery service.