Barley Risotto with Roasted Winter Vegetables

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(In an effort to eat a little less meat, I've set a goal to try one new recipe per week using a grain I don't commonly cook with.  See the original post here.)

For this week's "alterna-grain" I chose something a little more winter-y than last week.  Tonight we tried Barley Risotto with Roasted Winter Vegetables

Rather than using half a butternut squash, as the recipe calls for, I used an entire small pumpkin that was hanging out in the pantry.  I also mashed the vegetables after roasting them because I like a smoother consistency rather than veggie chunks.

I hadn't ever cooked with celery root (a.k.a. celeriac) before, and I absolutely loved it.  I love the flavor of celery, but I don't really like the stringy texture of it when it's cooked.  By using the root, I got all the flavor without the stringy bits--very nice. 

The barley on the other hand...eh, not so much.  I liked the kind of woodsy flavor it brought to the mix, but part of what makes risotto such comfort food is its smoothness.  The chewiness of the barley messed with that, and not in a good way. 

I think we'll make this recipe again, but probably with risotto or orzo pasta rather than barley.