It is not often that I impress myself with my cooking prowess. I’m glad that I get a great response most the time, but usually I think, ya, that was pretty good. But this dish is really really fabulous. SURE to make a good impression. I intended to make it a bit more like a barley risotto, but it kind of just grew into this dish. A great dish for hosting; serve with a green salad and you have an easy one or two dish meal! The rich and varied tastes were incredible together. Foodie Baby loved it. Sexy Husband (and the band) loved it. Picky Princess wouldn’t come near it(how dare I MIX together new things???!!!) and…I loved it. Hope you do too!
1.5 cups pearl barley, rinsed well
1 medium butternut squash, peeled and cubed. (note, this is not easy. I was kind of annoyed by the end. Do it earlier in the day when patience is running high.)
2 leeks, pale green and white parts only, sliced into 1 inch rounds
1 tbs balsamic vinegar
2 tbs extra virgin olive oil
salt and pepper
1 tbs chopped fresh sage(plus more for garnish)
1 cup chopped or whole hazelnuts, toasted
1/3 cup crumbled goat cheese
1 tbs truffle oil (you can use olive oil if you need to, but truffle oil is rich and amazing and really added a lot to this dish! I would like to try it with hazelnut oil as well!)
Make the barley. In a large pot, bring barley and 4 cups of water to a boil, reduce to a simmer and cook until barley is still chewy but cooked, about 20 minutes. (You can use regular barley instead of pearl barley, it just takes a bit longer to cook). Drain any excess water and leave barley in the pot.
Meanwhile, preheat oven to 375. Toss squash, leeks, vinegar, oil, salt and pepper and sage together and place in one layer on a baking sheet. Bake for about 30 minutes, stir frequently, until squash is browning on each side.
Pour squash mixture, hazelnuts and goat cheese into the barley and stir to combine. Drizzle with truffle oil. Garnish with fresh sage.