Well given food prices are rocketing I tried using barley instead of Arborio rice. It was a success, filling, healthy and still really yummy! NOTE: This is very filling and quite rich in flavour. So I sometimes serve half portions with some nice green beans or other summer Veg/green salad. It keeps in the refrigerator great in an air tight container or ziplock bag. It tastes great the next day cold or re-heated and so we take the leftovers for filling lunch at work.
Instead of the sage, you can user 3 tbsp fresh chopped rosemary (2 tsp dried).
Parmesan cheese is not truly vegetarian, as it contains animal rennet. To make this dish 100% vegetarian, omit the cheese or find a suitable vegetarian substitute made without animal rennet. In supermarkets look for the 'parmesan style hard cheeses' which are suitable for vegetarians.
I have to say, I was very pleasantly surprised by this. It wouldn't have occured to me to use Barley in place of Arboreo rice. Its much more substantial than rice - highly recommended for cold winter nights - and its far less labour intensive - no need to stand and keep stiring and adding the stock gradually. - 07 Jan 2010
Very good! My only complaint: I think you meant "Serves: 2 armies." We have SO MUCH left over! I thought it seemed like a lot of squash when I was cutting it, and then quite a lot of barley... I ended up using probably 1.5x the water and 2 stock cubes (Knorr veggie stock). I also didn't have wine like I thought, so I just omitted it and thew a little stock in early to soften things up. It was crazy kinds of good, and a tiny sprinkling of parmesan when serving it really seals the deal. I'll make it again someday, but we'll be eating this first batch for the next week Also, thank you for teaching me that I can use barley instead of Arborio rice for a delicious, flavorful, and less laborious dish. - 08 Sep 2011
Was tasty, all I would say is that this is very filling, I reckon it feeds 3 rather than 2 people. - 06 Apr 2011