Recipe of the Month - December 2011

Baked Barley Risotto with Butternut Squash

WAC Fun Food Fact

Butternut squash and spinach pack a powerhouse of nutrients into this vegetarian dish, and the barley is a healthy whole grain.  The orange color of the squash indicates the presence of beta carotene, an antioxidant, and the spinach is rich in folate, iron, and vitamin A.  With 15 grams of fiber in a serving, this dish meets about half of your daily fiber requirement.


  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 small butternut squash (about 1-1/2 pounds)
    peeled, seeded, and cut into 1-inch pieces (about 3 cups)
  • 1 onion, finely chopped
  • Kosher salt and black pepper
  • 1 cup pearl barley
  • cup dry white wine
  • 3 cups low-sodium vegetable broth
    (chicken broth is fine if you are not vegetarian)
  • 5 ounces baby spinach
  • cup grated Parmesan (2 ounces), plus more for serving
  • 1 tablespoon unsalted butter


1) Heat oven to 400 degrees.
2) Heat the oil in a Dutch oven or large oven-safe saucepan over medium-high heat.  Add the squash, onion, teaspoon salt, and  teaspoon pepper and cook, stirring often, until the onion begins to soften, 4 to 6 minutes.
3) Add the barley to the vegetables and cook, stirring, for 1 minute.
4) Add the wine and cook, stirring, until evaporated, about 1 minute.
5) Add the broth and bring to a boil; cover the pot and transfer it to oven.  Bake until the barley is tender, 35 to 40 minutes.
6) Stir in the spinach, Parmesan, and butter.
7) Serve with additional Parmesan.

Makes 4 Servings.

Nutritional Information:

Per serving:  427 calories, 13g protein, 63g carb, 15g fat (5g sat), 783mg sodium, 15g fiber, 318mg calcium

Note:  I found the portions to be enormous.  The recipe really can serve 6 main-dish portions, with a salad and bread.  The nutrition information is for of the recipe.  If you eat 1/6, it will only be 285 calories and 522mg sodium.