Orzotto ai Porcini 


 This is a delicious and easy substitute for risotto and is part of the traditional tavolo di garfagnana as a primo or pasta course. If desired, you can substitute shiitake mushrooms or portabellas.




Place the barley and 8 cups of water into a pot over medium-high heat, bring to a boil and cook 30 minutes. Drain in a colander and spread out on a cookie sheet to cool. You can do this up to 24 hours in advance.


Heat the chicken stock to just below boiling on the back burner.


Place extra virgin olive oil in a risotto/sauce pan and heat till smoking. Add garlic clove and then the porcinis. Season with salt and pepper and cook until just wilted, about 2 minutes. Add the cooked barley and cover with warm chicken stock and bring to a boil. Lower heat to a slow boil and cook as you would risotto, stirring regularly and adding a 4 ounce ladle of warm broth as the level cooks down beneath the surface of the barley. Cook until tender yet al dente about 12 minutes. Remove from heat and stir in the butter and cheese and serve immediately.


Brown Chicken Stock Instructions


In a large, heavy bottomed saucepan, heat the oil until smoking. Add the chicken bones and scraps and brown all over, stirring to avoid burning. Remove the chicken parts and reserve. Add the carrots, onions and celery and cook until soft and browned. Return the chicken bones to the pot and add 3 quarts of water, the tomato paste, peppercorns and parsley, stirring to dislodge the brown chicken and vegetable bits from the bottom of the pan. Bring almost to a boil, reduce the heat, and cook at a low simmer for 2 hours, until reduced by half, occasionally skimming the excess fat. After cooking, remove from heat and strain out all solids, pressing them with the bottom of the ladle to extract all liquids. This can be frozen for up to 1 month.