I am trying to work my way through some of the ingredients I've got hidden in the cupboard, and that is how I decided to make this really nifty little number! Originally, this was served topped with feta, but I still had some blue cheese that needed to be used, and so I thought I would try to add that - and it worked! Ham and tomatoes go hand in hand and so does blue cheese and tomatoes, at least in this case! If you have leftover mushrooms, that is the perfect ingredient to bulk out this dish and add a little bit of extra protein. Trying to stay on a budget, but still want tasty food without copromising? This is it! Or one of many delicious dishes that doesn't have to cost a lot. Go for vegan cheese instead of dairy cheese for a vegan treat!
Tomato Barley Risotto with Crumbled Cheese
(Serves 2, about 425 calories with blue cheese, 305 without, mushrooms excluded)
100g pearl barley
1/2 tbsp olive oil
1 medium small red onion, chopped
1 fat garlic clove, finely chopped
1/2 tsp red pepper flakes (or chilli powder)
2 bay leaves
1/2 tsp thyme
1 tsp oregano
Salt & black pepper to taste
200ml chicken/vegetable stock, made with 1 stock cube
400ml chopped tomatoes
60g crumbled blue cheese, or other cheese of choice - feta, mozzarella, or parmesan!
- Start by heating the oil up in a medium pan, throw in the onion and garlic and soften for about 5 minutes.
- Add the barley, and spices and stir until well combined. Use a ladle and pour a ladleful of stock in, the pan should be on medium high heat. Stir frequently to keep the barley from sticking to the pot. Once absorbed, pour 1/3 of the chopped tomatoes and chuck them in, stir until absorbed - then repeat with the rest of the stock and tomatoes.
- About 40 minutes later, you should have a lovely almost creamy-like textured risotto. Now, if you have any leftover mushrooms that need used, chuck them in now for the last couple of minutes, to juuust cook through.
- Remove bay leaves and serve the risotto with crumbled cheese on top. Stir the dish and watch the cheese melt into this hearty bowl of deliciousness - perfect supper for an Autumn evening! Aaaaand I just got to have the leftovers for breakfast today, I love leftover breakies!
Oh, and as I was making the risotto, I also wanted to repeat the simple oat cookies I made the other day, except I wanted to use a little bit of peanut butter and cocoa instead of the chocolate chips this time:
I had three of these cute mini oat cupcakes, and after my random little two-course Thursday menu, I was stuffed, but in that content sort of way, mmmm...