Wish Upon A Dish: Cheesy Baked Barley with Squash ♥ You will never miss the pasta

January 30, 2014

Cheesy Baked Barley with Squash ♥ You will never miss the pasta

I have been experimenting with grains that can easily substitute for carbs in traditional dishes without changing the original concept.

My first success story is this dish. Instead of pasta I used barley and I actually like it better. I love the chew of barley and I find that the macaroni in a traditional baked macaroni and cheese can sometimes become soft and starchy. Barley is almost impossible to overcook.

It reheated perfectly for my lunch today and I will be curious to see what The Nudge thinks, especially when I don't tell him what he's eating.

The squash adds additional nutrition and makes this dish a complete meal.
I chose to use a small round wheel of Gouda for a meatier cheese flavor and besides that, the preparation is that of a regular baked macaroni and cheese.

I soaked my barley overnight, then rinse and dry than toasted in a dry skillet. I made a flavorful cooking liquid using a packet of Goya Sazon and a teaspoon of Goya Adobo. Reserve a cup of the cooking liquid (just as you would for pasta) and that becomes part of the bechamel sauce. I also used a can of fat-free evaporated milk but 1% regular would also work.

Let's get cooking.....

Baked Cheesy Barley with Squash
serves 6 as a side
* 1 cup pearl barley, soaked overnight (optional)
* 1 packet Goya Sazon
* 1 teaspoon Goya Adobo
* 1/4 small onion, chopped
* 1 tablespoon butter
* 1 tablespoon flour
* 1/2 can fat-free evaporated milk, or 1/2 cup 1% milk
* 1 cup barley cooking liquid
* 1 small whole Gouda in red wax, peeled and cut into small chunks or 1 wedge
* 1 teaspoon Coleman's Dry Mustard
* 1 cup chopped squash, fresh or frozen
* Sliced scallions for garnish
* Bread crumbs for crust
* 1 tablespoon of butter cut into 5 pats

1. Bring a quart of water to a boil. Add the Goya seasoning and stir.
2. In a small dry skillet (or the oven) toast the barley until it starts to color.
3. Add the barley to the water and simmer for 45 minutes. Check for doneness.
4. Reserve a cup of cooking liquid and drain the barley.
5. In the same saucepan, melt the butter and add the onions. Cook until they are tender.
6. Add the flour and stir well. Pour in the cooking liquid and the milk and whisk constantly until there are no more flour lumps. Add the barley, the squash and simmer for 1-2 minutes.
7. Add the mustard and the cheese and stir to melt.
8. Pour the mixture into a casserole pan, sprinkle the bread crumbs over the top, creating a thin crust.
Dot the butter over the crumbs and bake at 350° for 35 minutes, uncovered or until the edges bubble.

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