Buttery Risotto with Portobello and Parmesan

In an effort to make some comfort food on Sunday night and also clean out the cabinets a bit, I found this recipe on Epicurious. I adapted it to use Arborio rice because I discovered that the barley I have in the cabinet is not pearl barley, and would likely have taken to my 30th birthday to cook.

While trying to discern if I had pearl barley or not, I learned more about barley than I suspect many health food store employees know. (That's not to disparage very knowledgeable and helpful health food store employees!) Now I am 75% sure that the Goya barley in my cabinet is hulled barley (aka barley groats), but of course the package only says "barley," hence my uncertainty. Hulled barley is more nutritious than pearl barley because it is less processed/refined (not sure of the correct term here); only its outermost hull has been polished off. However, pretty much the only use for hulled barley is in stews and soups. And I like stew...but Sunday I wanted to throw some grains, butter and cheese in a pot and call it dinner.

This was the first time I've ever scraped the gills out of a mushroom. My initial reaction was that this sounded really fussy, but I figured out pretty quickly that the gills would have discolored the risotto, probably making it an unappetizing gray color. Point taken.

I would use more portobello next time (this was about 6 oz). Since I cut the amount of grain ingredient in half, I sort of made a half recipe, but I kept the portobello at full force. There are just never enough mushrooms. I'm frequently disappointed by the shrinkage of mushrooms.

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