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Barley Risotto with Asparagus and Crispy Prosciutto

A springy barley risotto that's also hearty and comforting. The perfect dish for those early spring days that still feel like winter.
Prep Time15 mins
Cook Time45 mins
Total Time1 hr
Course: Main Course, Side Dish
Servings: 2 people


  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1 small yellow onion finely chopped
  • 4 cloves garlic minced
  • 1/2 cup pearl barley
  • 1/4 cup white wine
  • 4 cups chicken broth low-sodium
  • 1 medium carrot diced
  • 1 cup asparagus chopped
  • 1/2 cup Parmesan cheese grated
  • 1 teaspoon fresh thyme leaves
  • salt & pepper to taste
  • 4-6 slices prosciutto


For the Risotto

  • Heat the olive oil over medium heat. Add the finely chopped onion and sauté until soft and starting to brown. Add the barley and minced garlic and cook for another minute, until the barley starts to smell fragrant and nutty.
  • Stir in the white wine until it absorbs into the barley. Add the diced carrots.
  • Add 1/2 cup of broth to the pan at a time, stirring frequently(ish) and letting the risotto absorb the broth before adding another half cup. Add the chopped asparagus when you have 1 cup of broth remaining.
  • When the broth is completely absorbed and the barley is tender, stir in the Parmesan and thyme. Add salt and pepper to taste.

For the Crispy Prosciutto

  • Lay slices of prosciutto on a parchment lined baking sheet. Broil on high for 3-4 minutes, watching closely. Let cool slightly then crumble on top of each bowl of risotto!


  1. Dry white wine may work better than sweet. Use broth in place of wine, if desired.
  2. At medium-high heat it should take about 5 minutes for 1/2 cup of broth to absorb.
  3. The risotto will thicken when cooled and may require an extra splash of water or broth when reheating.
  4. This recipe will serve 2 people as a main dish or 4 people as a side.