Sweet Corn Barley Risotto

Sweet Corn Barley Risotto

Ever since corn started selling for 6 for $1, exactly 6 corn cobs have been in our crisper every week.  No more.  No less.  You should see us at the store as we hog up the trash can and ferociously pull apart the husks.  The Hungryman’s becoming an expert ;).  Sure I could spend another whole $1 to buy 6 more, but that’s a bit much for the two of us…oh and the Kones buddy.  In case you’ve been wondering how he’s doing, here he is, looking cuter than ever ;).  I don’t get to spend as much time with him lately as I began my clinical rotations for my dietetic internship.  His chewed up, weapon-like nails tell me he’s not very happy being alone (he has a tendency to bite his nails when he’s stressed)…poor guy…


As you can imagine, I’ve been scouring the web and my ever-growing collection of recipe books for delicious ways to enjoy these delightful kernels.  And unsurprisingly, Everyday Food came to the rescue.  Barley risotto with corn and basil?  Why, I didn’t even have to run out to the store as all the ingredients are staples around here.

Sweet Corn Barley Risotto

Although risotto is traditionally made with arborio rice, barley makes for a great substitute.  Not only is it more nutritious, loaded with tons of fiber, vitamins, and antioxidants, the slightly chewy and nutty flavor make the dish even more exceptional.

Sweet Corn Barley Risotto

Making risotto is incredibly simple.  However, it does test your patience.  For nearly 40 minutes, you have to stand over the stovetop and stir constantly while ladling in warm broth a little bit at a time.  I suggest you find something enjoyable to do at the same time so  you’re not checking the clock every minute.  I chose to catch up on shows that I’ve missed for the past month.  Watching television is a luxury these days so I thoroughly enjoyed “multi-tasking” ;).

Sweet Corn Barley Risotto

The combination of creamy barley risotto with sweet corn, fresh basil, and sharp parmesan cheese screams comfort to me.  Hope you give this recipe a try!

If you have any corn recipes that you love, please do share! 😉

Sweet Corn Barley Risotto
Slightly adapted from Everyday Food - Fresh Flavor Fast.
  • 2 cans (14.5 oz each) low-sodium vegetable broth
  • 4 cups water
  • 1 Tbs olive oil
  • 1 cup finely chopped onion
  • ½ tsp paprika
  • Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 cup pearl barley
  • ½ cup dry white wine
  • 2 cups fresh or frozen (unthawed) corn kernels
  • 2 cups lightly packed fresh basil leaves, torn into small pieces
  • ½ cup grated parmesan cheese, plus more for garnish
  • Drizzle of lemon
  1. In a medium saucepan, bring vegetable broth and water just to a simmer; reduce heat to low, and cover to keep warm.
  2. Meanwhile, heat oil in a large saucepan over medium heat. Add onion, paprika, and season with salt and pepper; cook, stirring occasionally, until onion is softened, 4-5 minutes. Add barley; cook, stirring, 1 minute. Pour in wine; cook, stirring, until absorbed, about 1 minute.
  3. Ladle in 2 cups warm broth; cook, stirring frequently, until almost completely absorbed, about 12-15 minutes. Continue to add broth 1 cup at a time, stirring frequently and allowing liquid to be almost absorbed before adding more. Repeat until barley is tender and mixture is creamy, 40-50 minutes (You may not need all the broth. I had about a cup left over). Add corn; cook just to heat through, 3-5 minutes.
  4. Remove from heat. Stir in basil and parmesan; season with salt and pepper. Serve immediately, garnish with more cheese and drizzle some lemon juice on top.
Nutrition Information
Serving size: 4



our-growing-edge-badgeThis post is part of the monthly link up party Our Growing Edge. This event aims to connect food bloggers and inspire us to try new things. This month is hosted by Marnelli  from Sweets & Brains!






Lovely comments

  1. says

    That looks amazing, Min! I actually just bought some pearl barley because I remembered that you did a post about it a while ago, but didn’t know what to do with it. I have four ears of corn in our fridge too! In Hawaii, we only get 4/$1 :) Going to make it this weekend, with Thai basil…I’ve fallen in love with thai basil! Hope your week has gone well, I’ve been thinking of you and praying your adjustment is not too stressful!

    • says

      Thank you, Maura! 4 for $1? That’s unacceptable ;). Yay I finally found something that makes being in Texas more exciting than Hawaii…yup..digging deep here. Mmmm Thai basil! I need to grow that one too. Tim prolly won’t let me seeing what a fantastic job I’m doing taking care of the 3 basil plants outside. They are quite beastly. He’s been obsessed with our tomato plants lately. Kinda cute ;). Thank you so much for your prayers…boy, I have a lot to share with you….

  2. says

    Your risotto looks wonderful, the flavors sound delicious! I love making different risottos, even though they may take a while to cook, they are always so worth it! This looks delicious with all the sweet corn!

  3. says

    Hi, Krista! Hope you had fun at your first Mud Race!! I’m sure you did ;). I can’t wait for you to try this recipe esp since you are a fan of pearl barley! And I’ll be sure to tell Kona. He is quite adorable, isn’t he? I’m so blessed to be his mama ;).

  4. says

    Min! You always come up with such cool ways to use barley! I love risotto, and I suppose since we still have quite a few cold days left before Spring really kicks in, this is a recipe I’m definitely bookmarking! Hope you’ve been well & enjoying your internship dear! MISSING YOU!

  5. says

    I’ve never tasted pearl barley before but it sounds amazing, and what a great way to eat with sweet corn. If I ever make something with pearl barley, I think my kids would like to try this risotto first (safe option because of sweet corn!). Thank you for introducing something new to me. :)

  6. says

    Oh this post has me looking forward to summer corn (it’s Spring here). We never get them that cheap but if they’re good, they’re worth 2 for $1 or whatever we pay for them. I haven’t got past simply boiling them and eating them with butter, or cutting them adding them to salads. I think in order to get to the more elaborate recipes, I need to eat them just with butter until I’m sick of it and yearn for another form. Barley risotto is great. I love the slightly chewy texture of it.


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Rate this recipe: