prawn kale and barley risotto

Risotto is my go-to dinner on a fairly regular basis. It’s the kind of dish that you can make for 2, or 4, or even 8 people (pan size permitting) without a lot of stress. I’m also kind of a strange guy and like to eat cold food as a midnight snack, and I think risotto is particularly tasty fresh out of the fridge in the middle of the night. Hey, don’t knock it until you try it…

This dinner definitely falls under the category of ‘Hmm, what can I make with these leftover ingredients in my fridge?’. Since my love for kale seems to be undying this year, I happily tossed some into this dinner as well. Barley is a great substitute for arborio rice when it comes to risotto. Especially if risotto intimidates you, I find barley to be  way more forgiving. This was the first time I ever tried to put mascarpone cheese into the rice dish as well. It added a rich, creaminess that was pretty fantastic.

Serves: 4

Total cook time: 25 minutes


6 cups vegetable broth

1 cup half and half

1 yellow onion (diced)

2 cloves garlic (minced)

1/4 cup white wine

2 cups uncooked barley

1 1/2 cups kale (stems removed, finely chopped)

1 lemon (zest and juice)

1/2 teaspoon cayenne pepper

1/4 cup mascarpone cheese

8 medium prawns (peeled and chopped)

1 tablespoon fresh dill

salt and pepper


1. Start off by heating the vegetable stock and cream together in a medium pot on medium-high heat. Once it begins to simmer, reduce to low heat to keep nice and hot.

2. Next, cook the garlic and onion down in a large pan on medium-high heat until softened, about 5 minutes. Reduce to medium heat, add the barley to the pan, stir and let cook for another 2-3 minutes.

3. Now, ladle in 2 cups of the hot vegetable broth. Stir occasionally until most of the liquid has been absorbed, then add the chopped kale, lemon and cayenne to the pan as well as 2 more cups of broth. Continue to let cook, adding broth as needed and stirring regularly until the barley reaches an el dente texture.

4. Reduce to low heat and stir in the mascarpone, chopped prawns and dill. Let cook until prawns have cooked through, about 1 minute. Finally, season to taste with salt and pepper and serve!

Dan ClapsonDan Clapson
is a food writer and culinary instructor based out of Calgary. He is
constantly creating new recipes and striving to expand his culinary
horizons. He thinks yam fries are overrated.