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Summer Barley Risotto With Sweet Corn, Roasted Tomato, and Basil

  • Author: Jessica Smith
  • Total Time: 1 hour 10 minutes
  • Yield: 4 1x


A lighter version of a classic risotto with a few of summer’s best ingredients.


  • 1 pint (300 g) cherry tomatoes, halved
  • 3 Tbsp. extra-virgin olive oil, divided
  • 6 cups (1,400 ml) low-sodium vegetable stock
  • 1 onion, finely chopped (should measure around 3/4 cup)
  • 1 and 1/2 cups (300 g) pearled barley
  • 1/2 cup dry white wine
  • kernels cut from 2 ears of sweet corn (un-cooked)
  • 3 Tbsp. unsalted butter, at room temperature
  • 3/4 cup grated Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese, plus extra for serving
  • 10 sweet basil leaves, thinly sliced
  • Salt and freshly ground pepper


  1. Preheat the oven to 375 degrees F (190 C.). Toss the tomatoes in 1 Tablespoon olive oil and a pinch of salt. Spread the tomatoes out on a baking sheet and roast, stirring to prevent burning, until slightly shriveled and golden brown, about 30 minutes.
  2. While the tomatoes roast, pour the stock into a medium pot and bring it to a simmer over medium-high heat. Reduce the heat to low and keep warm.
  3. In a large skillet, with deep sides, heat the remaining 2 Tablespoons olive oil over medium heat. Add the onion and cook, stirring, until the onion begins to soften, about 5 minutes. Add the barley, stirring until all of the grains are evenly coated in olive oil. Cook, stirring frequently, for about 5 minutes. Add the wine and cook, stirring, until it is nearly all absorbed. Add 1 cup of the warm stock to the pan, and continue stirring, until the stock is nearly all absorbed. Continue cooking the barley this way, adding the stock a bit at a time and stirring frequently, until the barley is tender enough to eat but still has a slight chew, about 50 minutes. Add the sweet corn and continue cooking for a couple minutes, just until the corn is heated through.
  4. Remove the skillet from the heat and gently stir in the butter, Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese, basil, and roasted tomatoes. Season with salt and pepper.
  5. Serve immediately, with extra grated Parmigiano-Reggiano on the top.


The finished risotto should be creamy but not soupy and the cooked barley should have an “al dente” quality – tender but with a slight chew to it. The amount of liquid needed may vary slightly. If you run out of stock while the barley is still cooking, simply keep adding hot water until the barley is cooked through.

  • Prep Time: 10 mins
  • Cook Time: 1 hour
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