Frugal Recipe: Creamy Barley w/ Tomatoes & Greens

By Marissa Bognanno: Professional Chef, Zumba Instructor, & Author of The Boot Blog

There's nothing an expat dreams of more than food. So when I discovered an all-organic Whole Foods-esque grocery store in town, it was like hitting the jackpot. Though everything is super expensive (15 euro for a bottle of maple syrup), a girl can dream.

My new discovery (and obsession) that I found there is pearl barley. I make it like rice or risotto and think, "This has eight essential amino acids, so I can have four bowls of it!"

Creamy Barley with Tomatoes (and Greens)
recipe by Real Simple

2 tablespoons olive oil
1 large onion, finely chopped
kosher salt and black pepper
2 cups quick-cooking barley
1 28-ounce can diced tomatoes, drained
1 cup dry white wine
8 cups torn mustard green leaves (from 1 small bunch) or spinach (optional)
2 ounces Taleggio or Brie (rind removed), cut into small pieces
1/2 cup grated Parmesan (2 ounces)

Heat the oil in a saucepan over medium heat. Add the onion, ½ teaspoon salt, and ¼ teaspoon pepper and cook, stirring occasionally, until tender, 6 to 8 minutes. Add the barley, tomatoes, wine, and 2 ½ cups water and bring to a boil.
Reduce heat and simmer, stirring occasionally, until the barley is tender, 12 to 15 minutes. Add the mustard greens (optional), Taleggio, and ¼ cup of the Parmesan and cook, stirring occasionally, until the greens are tender, 3 to 4 minutes. Divide among bowls and sprinkle with the remaining ¼ cup of Parmesan.

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