It's hard to believe this filling dish that's full of rich flavor is also good for you! This recipe creatively combines "melted" butternut squash with tender cooked barley for an ultra-creamy, ultra-comforting risotto.
1 fresh sage sprig, plus 3 tablespoons fresh leaves
4 cups unsalted vegetable stock
⅞ teaspoon kosher salt
½ teaspoon black pepper
½ teaspoon granulated sugar
4 cups peeled and chopped butternut squash (about 20 ounces)
⅓ cup heavy cream
1½ teaspoons sherry vinegar
1½ ounces Parmesan cheese, grated (about ⅓ cup)
Heat the oil in a large skillet over medium-high. Add the onions, and cook, stirring often, until the onions just begin to soften, about 5 minutes. Add the mushrooms to the skillet; cook, stirring often, until the liquid evaporates, about 8 minutes. Add the barley and sage sprig to the skillet; cook, stirring often, 1 minute.
Coat a 5- to 6-quart slow cooker with cooking spray. Stir together the barley mixture, stock, salt, pepper, and sugar in the slow cooker; stir to combine. Sprinkle the squash over the top. Cover and cook on HIGH until the barley and squash are tender, about 4 to 5 hours. Remove the sage sprig.
Using the back of a spoon, mash the butternut squash cubes into the risotto until smooth. Stir in the heavy cream and vinegar until incorporated. Sprinkle the servings evenly with the cheese and sage leaves.
Multicooker Directions: Complete Step 1. In Step 2, coat the inner pot of a 6-quart multicooker with cooking spray. Stir together the barley mixture, stock, salt, pepper, and sugar in the pot. Sprinkle the squash over the top. Lock the lid; turn Pressure Valve to "Venting." Cook on SLOW COOK [More] until the barley and squash are tender, about 5 hours. Turn off the cooker. Remove the sage sprig. Complete Step 3.