Pearled barley yields a creamy, toothsome risotto. And here’s your language lesson for the day: The Italian word for barley is orzo (not to be confused with the rice-shaped pasta of the same name), and risotto made with barley is called orzotto. Yes, we probably should call this orzotto, but most people will think of this as risotto. In any case, it’s delicious by any name. This recipe also would be tasty with pearled farro (labeled farro perlato) if you find it at gourmet markets, in which case, this would be farrotto.
I have a thing for mortars and pestles. Part of my fascination, I think, comes from the fact that they’re so utterly primitive. They don’t have a plug. They don’t make motorized noise. They don’t even have a sharp edge. But don’t let the simplistic nature fool you into thinking they’re not useful tools.