Serves 4 to 6

  • 1 pound honeynut (or butternut) squash, peeled, seeded, and cut into 1-inch cubes

  • 1 fennel bulb, trimmed and cut into thin wedges

  • 3 cups chopped raw kale

  • 6 tablespoons Matriark Foods Upcycled Vegetable Broth Concentrate (UVBC)

  • 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil

  • 1 cup finely diced onion (200g)

  • Kosher salt

  • 2 tablespoons finely chopped garlic (28g)

  • 1 teaspoon chopped fresh thyme (2g)

  • 1 cup barley

  • 1 cup dry white wine

  • 1/4 cup freshly grated (25g) plus 2 small Parmesan cheese rinds (if you don’t have cheese rinds, just add a bit more Parmesan)

  • 2 to 3 tablespoons fresh lemon juice


  1. To blanch the vegetables, bring a large pot of salted water to a boil over high heat. Fill a large bowl with ice water and put it in the sink. This is known as an ice bath. Add the squash to the boiling water and cook for about 2 minutes. Using a slotted spoon, transfer the squash to the ice bath. When cool, remove from the ice bath and drain on paper towels. Repeat this process with the fennel and the kale. After the kale is cooled, wring out any excess water. Set the vegetables aside.

  2. Put the UVBC in a medium saucepan, add 6 cups of water and bring to a simmer over medium heat. Remove from the heat and set aside.

  3. In a large saucepan or soup pot heat the olive oil over medium heat. Add the onion, season with salt, and cook until softened, 2 to 3 minutes. Add the garlic and thyme and cook until fragrant, about 2 minutes. Add the barley and stir until it is evenly coated with oil. Add the Parmesan rinds, if using, and the wine and cook, stirring, until the wine is slightly reduced, 3 to 5 minutes.

  4. Bring the broth to a simmer Add about 1/2 cup of the simmering broth to the barley and continue to stir until it absorbs nearly all of the liquid. Continue adding more simmering broth, a ladleful a time, and not adding more broth until the previous amount is absorbed by the barley. When nearly all of the broth has been added, the risotto will be creamy but the individual grains will be slightly firm (al dente). When the risotto reaches this point, stop adding broth. This process should take about 20 to 25 minutes.

  5. Remove the Parmesan cheese rinds, if using, and stir in the reserved vegetables. Stir in the grated cheese, sprinkle with lemon juice, and serve with a sprinkle of Parmesan cheese.

“Risotto, the treasured dish of northern Italy, is a method, and it’s great for improvising. Traditionally made with arborio rice, when made with barley, you get extra nutrition, and a wonderful nutty flavor. This is a great recipe to improvise with other vegetables depending on the season: Fresh peas, asparagus, and mushrooms in spring, and peppers, corn, and basil in summertime. To make this recipe vegan, omit the cheese.

The secret to creamy, perfect risotto is to constantly stir it while adding the simmering stock. Be sure to have all of the ingredients ready before you start so that you can devote your time tending to the risotto, which requires at least 20 to 25 minutes at the stove.” 

- Livio Velardo, Executive Chef at Barclays Center in Brooklyn,
New York