My family had made a wonderful buckwheat and pasta dish, so when we came across this recipe, we had to try it. Our version had spinach, pasta, rice, barley, and greenmarket Italian sweet sausage.
We mostly stayed true to the recipe. We started by sautéing our Angus Acres sweet sausage, then added garlic and spinach (no escarole). Once the spinach was wilted, we moved it to a bowl. Then, we boiled the broth with some oregano.
Assembly was easy, though we used a glass bowl since there wasn’t a casserole dish at ib‘s place. We put a layer of penne on the bottom, and we accidentally put the rice on the bottom as well. We put the sausage and spinach above that, sprinkled the barley over the top, and poured the vegetable broth over everything. Since we were using a bowl, we didn’t bring this to a boil, we just made sure the broth was nearly boiling-hot when we poured it in. We covered and baked for half an hour; at that point, some of the barley on top hadn’t gotten much liquid, so it was still dry. I shoved those grains farther down, and let it bake another 10 minutes. Then it was just a matter of taking it out, stirring, and serving, topped with a little Parmesan.
Needless to say, this tasted great! We certainly under-use barley—the taste and texture were very welcome here. Combined with the sausage and greens (a favorite of ours), this was a satisfying meal that we’ll have to make again.