I got no idea how this all started but printed shirts as a souvenir are available everywhere. I am not just talking about the profound ‘I caught a snow bunny in Colorado’ shirts or the ones who just name a town, a restaurant or what ever on the chest. Actually some of them are very nice and I bought two or three to remind me of a special occasion or location. I can’t get over those silly shirts saying: “my sister/brother/whoever went to… and all I got is this lousy shirt”. I saw them everywhere, many places all over the world, business-savvy natives sold them to tourists. But I have never seen someone wearing them and we all know why… we are smarter than that, have more taste and don’t want to look like stay-at-homes.
Last year my friend went to Tuscany and I would have preferred a shirt saying: My friend went to Italy and all I got is this lousy shirt. Why? Because she gave me a cookbook from Italy, for Italians, about Italian food and of course written in Italian. Unfortunately a language I don’t speak accept the common expressions you can find on a menu.
First I liked looking at the mouthwatering pictures but soon it felt more like a torture than fun. This Italian cookbook waited one year in my bookshelf until this summer. My friend went to Italy again but this time I got a selection of good European chocolate and dried herbs (yippee and yummy). I felt bad not even cooked one dish from my cookbook and opened it just at the right page. I found a recipe with a short ingredient list, means less translation for me. Although I still don’t get even this right: 2 mazzetta di rucola, my dictionary says mazzetta means “corrupt money, secret commission, bribe”. And I didn’t translate the instructions for the recipe but it came out (surprisingly) delicious. I like the texture of the barley with the flavor of the arugula and the sun dried tomatoes add some fruitiness. My bottom line is sometime you don’t have to have any clue what you are doing, just a spoon to taste and a hint from a cookbook which you are not able to read or whatever!
- 200 g / 1 cup pearled barley
- 2 garlic cloves
- 4 green onion
- 3 tablespoons olive oil
- 80 ml / ⅓ cup dry white wine
- 0.7 l / 3 cups (or more) vegetable stock
- 1 dried bay leaf
- 3 handful of fresh arugula
- 8 or more sun dried tomatoes
- 20 g / ¼ cup parmesan, coarsely grated
- salt and pepper to taste
- Rinse the barley in your colander and drain well.
- Heat the olive oil in a large (heavy) saucepan, add only the white part of the onion and the minced garlic, saute for 2 minutes, reduce the heat if it browns. Add the barley, stir and saute for further 3 minutes.
- Pour in the white wine and stir until absorbed. Add the broth, the bay leaf and salt. Cover with a lid and let cook for about 40 minutes until the barley absorbs the broth and is tender. Stir from time to time and add more broth if needed.
- Meanwhile, wash the arugula and put aside.
- Put the dried tomatoes in a small bowl or cup and cover with hot water for about 10 minutes. Drain and let dry on a paper towel.
- Roughly chop the arugula and coarsely slice the tomatoes.
- By the time the barley is cooked, remove the bay leave and let cool slightly. Pour into a bowl, add the arugula, the green part of the green onion and the sun dried tomatoes, stir and add pepper and more salt if needed.
- You can cook the barley one day ahead and store in your refrigerator.