Barley Risotto with Mushrooms and Spicy Sausage

When the temperature gets below 20 degrees all I want is some warm, tasty comfort food. What better way than with a warm risotto. I adapted this from a Weight Watchers barley risotto recipe to be less…well less weight watcher-sie and more me. This recipe is easy to make dairy free or half and half as I did to accommodate myself and my cheese eating husband and our fairy godmother (I know we have a fairy Godmother. It’s pretty cool). What I liked best about this recipe was unlike the constant stirring required in traditional risotto with arborio rice this barley one allowed it to simmer on its own without having to be mixed. This means I will now be eating rissoto 10 times more often as that was always my deterrent to cook it. I mean what mom with two kids has the ability to stand next to a pot and stir for 30-40 minutes!?!  One thing I will add is the spicy sausage gave it a kick so if you want to make it more kid friendly I’d recommend doing two regular sausage instead of one of each. Without further ado here is the most recent Teskey dinner hit!

Barley Risotto with Mushrooms and Spicy Sausage

yields ~6 cups of risotto


  • 1 medium onion, diced
  • 1 Tbsp olive oil
  • ~12 ounce of mushrooms, chopped (more or less is okay too- I used crimini but baby portabellas would work too)
  • 2 cloves of garlic, minced
  • 2 sausages (1 regular, 1 spicy)
  • 2 cups of chicken broth
  • 1 cup of hull-less or pearl barley, rinsed
  • 1 tsp of fresh thyme or 1/2 tsp of dried thyme
  • 1/2 cup grated Parmesan cheese
  • salt and pepper to taste


  1. Heat olive oil in medium dutch oven  or large pot
  2. Add onion and let sautee for 2-3 minutes
  3. Add mushrooms and garlic to the pot and cook 3-4 more minutes
  4. Remove casein from the sausages and add small pieces to the sauteing vegetables. Cook until the meat is cooked through and the onions and mushrooms are tender (~10 minutes)
  5. Pour in chicken broth and 1 cup of barley. Stir.
  6. Increase heat to have the broth boil then cover and reduce to a simmer for ~40 minutes until barley is tender and the liquid is absorbed
  7. Remove saucepan from heat. Add thyme and cheese. I removed my portion and didn’t add cheese then added the cheese to the pot for others. It was delicious even without the cheese!
  8. Add salt and pepper as desired and serve