As cereal grains go, barley is a winner when it comes to good nutrition. This centuries-old grain is packed with fiber, contains important vitamins and minerals, is slim on fat, and, like all plant products, cholesterol-free. Due to its mineral contents (magnesium, phosphorus, potassium, calcium and iron), it is high on energy, facilitates concentration and cerebral activity and it's very digestible.
Today, I am suggesting this simple dish with barley and vegetables as a base.
|Barley and Vegetable Soup - Minestra di Verdure e Orzo|
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1 cup uncooked pearl barley (orzo perlato)
4 cups of water or vegetable broth
1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil
1 cup chopped leek (about 1 large)
2 small zucchini
Salt and freshly ground pepper to taste
Firstly, place barley in water for an hour and then wash thoroughly. Chop all vegetables in small cubes.
Heat 1/2 of the oil in a large saucepan over medium heat. Add carrots, zucchini, and leek; cook 10 minutes or until tender, stirring occasionally. Add barley, salt, and pepper; cook 1 minute, stirring constantly. Add 4 cups of water; bring to a boil. Cover, reduce heat, and simmer 30 minutes, stirring occasionally. Uncover and cook 5 minutes or until liquid is absorbed. Drizzle the remaining oil and stir in some Parmigiano-Reggiano.