For the risotto: Heat the butter until bubbling. Add the onions, garlic and herbs and sauté until soft and fragrant, then add the mushrooms and sauté until they are also softened.
Add the wine and simmer uncovered until reduced, then add the barley and stir until all the grains are covered in the buttery onion mixture. Add the stock 1 cup at a time and cook gently for +- 45 minutes, adding stock all the while. Most of the liquid will cook away and you’ll be left with a “risotto” consistency (you may need to cover with a lid to allow barley to cook evenly).
Stir in 3/4 of the Parmesan cheese and serve topped with crispy bacon crumbs, roasted tomatoes and left over Parmesan.
For the bacon crumbs: Preheat the oven to 220°C. Place slices of bacon into a greased baking tray and pop into the oven for 15 – 20 minutes until super crispy on both sides (turning half way through). Remove from tray and allow to cool.
Use a sharp chopping knife to chop the bacon into small or big crumbs/bits. For a finer crumb, pulse in a food processor.
For the roasted tomatoes: Preheat oven to 220°C. Place tomatoes onto a baking tray, rub with olive oil, salt and pepper and roast for + -15 minutes until bursting and blistered.Reprinted with permission of Bits of Carey. To see more
recipes, click here.