Butternut Squash-Barley Risotto

Bring this dish of barley risotto with butternut squash to your holiday table and watch how quickly it'll disappear.


  • ½ cup pearl barley
  • 3 cups low-sodium chicken or vegetable broth divided
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 onion chopped
  • 1 small butternut squash peeled, seeded, and cut into 1-inch pieces (about 4 cups)
  • 1 garlic clove minced
  • ½ cup dry white wine
  • ¼ teaspoon each dried sage and thyme
  • 1 cup corn
  • 2 cups baby spinach
  • 1 teaspoon lemon zest
  • ½ cup grated Parmesan cheese
  • Salt and freshly ground pepper to taste


  • Bring barley and 2 cups broth to a boil. Reduce heat to a simmer; cook, covered, until tender and most of the liquid has been absorbed, 40 to 50 minutes or whatever the package instructions suggest.
  • Drain and set aside. Meanwhile, heat the oil in a large non-stick skillet over medium-high heat. Add the onion and sauté stirring often until translucent, about 3 minutes. Add squash and sauté for 5 minutes. Mix in garlic and wine and cook until evaporated, about 1 minute. Add remaining broth, sage and thyme. Cover; bring to a boil. Reduce the heat and simmer, covered, 20 to 25 minutes or until squash is just tender.
  • Stir in barley and corn. Add spinach, lemon zest, and Parmesan. Season with salt and pepper. Remove from heat. Serve with additional Parmesan if you like.