Barley risotto with sausage and mushrooms

Total Time
1 hr 48 min
15 min
1 hr 33 min
Dried mushrooms like shiitake and porcini are terrific pantry staples that add loads of flavor to dishes. Fresh cremini mushrooms are quite simply cultivated baby button mushrooms that have matured to the point that their pale exteriors have deepened to a nutty brown. If left to grow to full maturity they become meaty, large-capped portobello mushrooms. While fresh mushrooms have a spongy texture, it's a myth that they absorb water if you wash them. Do remove any dirt before cooking by either rinsing them or wiping them clean with a paper towel. The mix of dried and fresh mushrooms gives this barley variation on risotto an earthy flavor that is complemented by fresh sage and rich Parmesan. This is definitely a company-worthy comfort food dish.



2 cup(s)

Dried shiitake mushrooms

¾ oz

Olive oil

2 tsp

Cremini mushroom

8 oz, thinly sliced


1 medium, finely chopped

White wine

¼ cup(s)

Uncooked turkey sausage

1 pound(s), Italian, casings removed

Reduced sodium chicken broth

3 cup(s)

Uncooked pearl barley

1 cup(s), pearl variety

Grated Parmesan cheese

¼ cup(s)

Dried sage

2 tsp, 2 tablespoons chooped fresh

Unsalted butter

1 tsp

Black pepper

½ tsp, freshly ground


  1. Bring the water to a boil in a small saucepan. Remove from the heat and add the dried mushrooms; let stand 20 minutes. Drain, reserving the liquid, and coarsely chop the mushrooms.
  2. Heat the oil in a large nonstick saucepan over medium-high heat. Add the soaked mushrooms, cremini mushrooms, and onion. Cook, stirring occasionally, until the mushrooms and onion are very tender, about 15 minutes.
  3. Stir in the wine; bring to a boil. Cook until the wine evaporates, about 3 minutes. Add the sausage and cook, breaking the sausage up with a spoon, until it begins to brown, about 10 minutes.
  4. Add the reserved mushroom soaking liquid, the broth, and barley; bring to a boil. Reduce the heat and simmer, covered, until the barley is tender, about 40 minutes. Remove the saucepan from the heat. Stir in the Parmesan cheese, sage, butter, and pepper and serve at once. Yields generous 1 cup per serving.


Substitute brown button or white mushrooms if cremini aren’t available. If you’re pressed for time, use quick-cooking barley instead of the pearl barley—it cooks in 10 to 12 minutes.