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IMG_0156I have lots of butternut squash on hand and I needed a recipe that was easy and fast. Nutty and buttery squash mixed together with barley-you get a double whammy of comfort and warmth. Why is it called “pearled” barley? Barley that has been polished is called pearled and takes less time to cook. Any meal that takes a few minutes to throw together is a meal worth my time.

English: Butternut Squash pumpkins

This dish was 50 minutes tops and tasted like it had been simmering all day. Add a nice piece of hard bread and -voilà- instant thumbs up, except if you had someone who missed the meat. I can only do meatless once or twice a week before the husband notices and starts to question the meal selections.

The recipe comes from Real Simple magazine 2011 with a couple of my adaptations.

Butternut Squash with Pearl Barley and Spinach

Serves 4

2 Tbls. olive oil

1 small butternut squash (about 1 1/2#’s) peeled, seeded and cut into 1-inch pieces

1 onion, finely chopped

1 cup pearl barley

1/2 cup dry white wine ( I had cooking sherry so used that instead)

3 cups chicken broth (low sodium if you prefer)

5 ounces spinach, chopped

1/2 cup grated Parmesan (I used Asiago)

1 Tbls. butter

Heat oven to 400. Heat oil in a Dutch oven or large oven safe sauce pan over medium-high heat. Add the squash, onion, salt and pepper and cook, stirring often, until the onion begins to soften, 4-6 minutes.

Add the barley to the vegetables and cook, stirring for 1 minute. Add the wine and cook, stirring until evaporated, about 1 minute. Add the broth and bring to a boil; cover the pot and transfer it to oven. Bake until barley is tender-about 35-40 minutes.

Stir in spinach, Parmesan and butter. Serve with additional Parmesan.

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