Necessity is the mother of invention as they say, and I had a small amount of barley leftover from my beef barley soup and didn’t know what to do with it, but I knew I didn’t want to waste such a versatile ingredient. Barley tastes nutty, but also a bit like pasta too, and it is so healthy as a whole grain while having a pleasing taste, it provide an easy way to get some nutrition into the kids. I invented this dish because I had the barley and I love baby peas, and had seen them paired in the past before, so I went for it. It tasted pretty good, and was so quick and easy as a side dish! Healthy….quick….easy, the three most important adjectives for a busy home kitchen.
1/2 cup barley
1 1/2 cup water or stock
Half a bag of baby sweet peas (7 oz.)
1 tbsp butter (or more if you are skipping the cheese topping)
Salt and pepper to taste
1/4 cup Parmesan reggiano shredded to top the dish (optional)
Cook the barley per directions on the bag using stock if you have it instead of water to infuse more flavor into the barley. Four minutes before the barley is completely cooked, add in the frozen baby peas and finish cooking. Stir in the butter and add salt and pepper to season. Taste for seasoning and adjust. Top the final product with Parmesan reggiano cheese for an extra boost of flavor.