Velvety Barley Recipe with Bacon and Gruyere

Velvety Barley Recipe with Bacon and Gruyere Cheese on plate with crispy bacon bits and diced chives on top and spoon with scoop on side of plate. It's creamy, rich, nutty, smokey, hearty, and utterly delicious.
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Creamy, rich, nutty, smokey, hearty, and utterly delicious describes this one here, my friends!  This is my Velvety Barley Recipe with Bacon and Gruyere Cheese and it is definitely a must-try side dish!  This recipe takes a healthy, let’s face it, rather unappealing and chewy grain, and turns it into something so delicious, it’s almost naughty.  The garlic, bacon, and gruyere cheese work together to give barley the make-over it deserves and your taste buds a true delight!

SO EASY!  Everything, including boiling the barley, can be prepped ahead, so that right before eating, you just need to spend 15 minutes making the sauce, then mixing it with the barley.

CHECK OUT THIS TUTORIAL SHOWING HOW TO MAKE THIS!

Velvety Barley Recipe With Bacon & Gruyere by talkingmeals on Jumprope.

What to serve with this Barley Recipe

This recipe goes great with anything from chicken to seafood to steak to roasted veggies.  My favorite to serve with this Barley are Glazed Pan Seared Scallops with Garlic and Honey.   Parmesan Crusted Chicken & Asparagus has both the chicken and the veggie baking in the oven at the same time!  Or a simple Mediterranean marinated chicken breast goes well this or even Baked Coconut Shrimp.  I also love Hungarian Chicken with the smokey paprika that pairs so well with the bacon in this barley.  

WHAT IS BARLEY? 

Barley is a grain and is sold in most grocery stores today.  It’s typically sold as Pearl or Pearled Barley, but you can also find Hulled barley.  Hulled is where only the indigestible outer husk/shell is removed, but the bran layer is left.  It takes longer to cook to a soft texture than Pearl barley, about an hour.  Hulled Barley has more fiber and nutrients because it still has the bran.  Pearl Barley, which is what I found in my store and used in this recipe, has both the husk and bran layers removed.  It’s still very nutritious, but without the bran, has less fiber and nutrients than the Hulled version.   

Barley has so many healthy benefits!  It’s a great source of Fiber, vitamins, and nutrients. Barley contains both insoluble and soluble fiber.  Insoluble fiber helps to improve digestion and prevent constipation.  While soluble fiber reduces hunger and enhances feelings of fullness.  Barley also contains antioxidants linked to a lower risk of cancer and heart disease.

Quick note!  This post contains affiliate links, which means I earn a commission (at no extra cost to you) if you purchase from them.  This commission is what helps me keep this blog afloat :).  I also share these links because I have used the products, genuinely love them, and want you to know exactly what I used. 

EQUIPMENT NEEDED

There really is nothing special required for this recipe. You will just need a medium pot to cook the barley and a large skillet/frying pan for cooking the bacon, making the sauce, then mixing everything together. I use my absolute favorite 12″ Ceramic Pan, which is great because food really does slide right off with minimal oil and I don’t have to worry about food sticking and burning. 

PREP-AHEAD STEPS FOR THIS BARLEY RECIPE

We are all extremely busy and making dinner during the week can be overwhelming. Here are steps you can prepare ahead to save time on busy nights! (See the full recipe below) 

Dice the bacon. Finely slice the chives. 

Cook the Barley then drain off the excess water and then set aside or store in the fridge until ready to make the sauce.  Barley is boiled in water, it’s not steamed like rice.  It takes longer than rice or pasta to cook because it’s a harder grain that takes longer to soften to a nice chew texture.  Total time to simmer is between 30-40 minutes, depending on how soft you prefer it to be.

Can I cook the bacon ahead?

You can cook the bacon according to the recipe instructions up to 5 days in advance.  If you do this, please note, you will want to save the bacon fat.  The bacon fat is used in the sauce to cook the garlic and give rich bacon flavor.  Transfer the bacon to a paper towel to cool and crisp up, as per the instructions.  Then, pour the fat into a glass container and store it sealed in the fridge.  It will turn to a solid and when you are ready to make the sauce, you simply scoop it into the pan and it will melt beautifully.

Or…you can make the entire sauce ahead and either mix it with the barley or store in a container in the fridge.

Can I use Turkey bacon, Pancetta, or other replacement?

Yes, you can either eliminate the bacon or replace it.  If you use something very lean, such as turkey bacon, you will need to supplement with olive oil when you add the garlic.  If you use pancetta, dice it and use it the same way as the bacon.  If you render it, you should get enough fat, but you can supplement with olive oil as needed.

COOK YOUR SAUCE & FINISH THE BARLEY RECIPE 

Preheat a large frying pan. Add the diced bacon on medium-low heat. Stir so that the bacon doesn’t burn. Render the fat and crip the bacon, about 10 minutes. Remove the bacon with a slotted spoon leaving the fat behind and place on a plate to the side or store in the fridge if doing this in advance.

Raw diced bacon in large frying pan for Velvety Barley Recipe with Bacon and Gruyere Cheese.  It's creamy, rich, nutty, smokey, hearty, and utterly delicious.

Spoon scooping out cooked diced bacon in large frying pan for Velvety Barley Recipe with Bacon and Gruyere Cheese.  It's creamy, rich, nutty, smokey, hearty, and utterly delicious.

Make the cornstarch slurry by whisking in the cornstarch to the milk. set aside.

To the pan with the bacon fat, add the garlic (add the olive oil if more fat is needed). Stir the garlic and cook on low heat for 2 minutes.

Garlic added to bacon fat in large frying pan for Velvety Barley Recipe with Bacon and Gruyere Cheese.  It's creamy, rich, nutty, smokey, hearty, and utterly delicious.

Whisk in the broth, ground pepper, and milk cornstarch slurry. Continue to whisk as it heats and start to thicken, about 2-3 minutes. Then whisk in the shredded cheese and half of the chives.

Whisk stirring thickened sauce leave a track on bottom of large frying pan for Velvety Barley Recipe with Bacon and Gruyere Cheese.  It's creamy, rich, nutty, smokey, hearty, and utterly delicious.

Whisk mixing shredded gruyere cheese into sauce in large frying pan for Velvety Barley Recipe with Bacon and Gruyere Cheese.  It's creamy, rich, nutty, smokey, hearty, and utterly delicious.

Finally, add the barley to the sauce and warm through. Taste for seasoning and add a dash of salt and pepper as needed. Serve and garnish with the remaining parsley. Enjoy!

Spatula mixing cooked barley into cheese sauce in large frying pan for Velvety Barley Recipe with Bacon and Gruyere Cheese.  It's creamy, rich, nutty, smokey, hearty, and utterly delicious.

Spoon mixing cooked bacon bits into Velvety Barley Recipe with Bacon and Gruyere Cheese in large pan on stove.  It's creamy, rich, nutty, smokey, hearty, and utterly delicious.

What other cheeses can I use?

If you don’t have gruyere cheese, you can use cheddar, manchego, gouda, jack, or other medium-firm melty shredded cheese.  You can use soft cheeses as well, such as brie or goat cheese, just be sure to really stir them in as they melt.  Finally, you can use a very firm cheese, such as grated parmesan, as well.

Can I make this ahead and/or freeze?

You can make this recipe ahead and store in the refridgerator for up to 5 days in advance.  To warm, you can place it in the oven at 350F degrees for 15-20 minutes, until warmed through.  You can also warm in the microwave.  

You can freeze this in a freezer-safe AND oven-safe container for up to 6 months in advance.  To reheat, you can place in the oven directly from the freezer and reheat at 350F degrees for 30-45 minutes or until warmed through to the center.

ENJOY!  😍 Carrie

Velvety Barley Recipe with Bacon and Gruyere Cheese on plate with crispy bacon bits and diced chives on top and spoon with scoop on side of plate. It's creamy, rich, nutty, smokey, hearty, and utterly delicious.

Have you tried this recipe? If so, please leave a ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️ star rating in the recipe below! I love to hear your feedback and your rating helps others to find this recipe. Thanks so much!

Velvety Barley Recipe with Bacon and Gruyere

Creamy, rich, nutty, smokey, hearty, and utterly delicious describes this one here, my friends!  This is my Velvety Barley Recipe with Bacon and Gruyere Cheese and it is definitely a must-try side dish!  This recipe takes a healthy, let's face it, rather unappealing and chewy grain, and turns it into something so delicious, it's almost naughty.  The garlic, bacon, and gruyere cheese work together to give barley the make-over it deserves! Everything, including boiling the barley, can be prepped ahead, so that right before eating, you just need to spend 15 minutes making the sauce, then mixing it with the barley.

Course Main Course, Side Dish
Cuisine American
Keyword barley, grains, healthy sides, side dishes
Prep Time 40 minutes
Cook Time 15 minutes
Total Time 55 minutes
Servings 4 servings
Author Carrie Tyler

Ingredients

  • 1 cup Dry Barley, pearled or hulled (I used pear)
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 5 slices Bacon
  • 1 teaspoon Extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1 teaspoon Garlic, minced
  • 1/2 cup Gruyere Cheese, shredded
  • 1 cup Milk, 1% (any milk fat content is fine)
  • 2 tablespoons Cornstarch
  • 1 dash Ground Black Pepper
  • 1 cup Chicken or Vegetable Broth
  • 1/4 cup Chives, finely diced

Instructions

Prep Ahead Steps

  1. Dice the bacon. Finely slice the chives.

  2. Boil a large pot of water for the Barley. Once the water is boiling, add a teaspoon of salt. Add the Barley and stir. Bring to a boil and then turn down to a simmer uncovered for 30-40 minutes until it reaches your desired tenderness. Drain off the excess water and then set aside or store in the fridge until ready to make and add to the sauce.

Cooking Steps

  1. Preheat a large frying pan. Add the diced bacon on medium-low heat. Stir so that the bacon doesn't burn. Render the fat and crip the bacon, about 10 minutes. Remove the bacon with a slotted spoon leaving the fat behind and place on a plate lined with paper towel. Set to the side or store in the fridge if doing this in advance.

    Spoon scooping out cooked diced bacon in large frying pan for Velvety Barley Recipe with Bacon and Gruyere Cheese. It's creamy, rich, nutty, smokey, hearty, and utterly delicious.
  2. Make the cornstarch slurry by whisking in the cornstarch to the milk. set aside.

  3. To the pan with the bacon fat, add the garlic (add the olive oil if more fat is needed). Stir the garlic and cook on low heat for 2 minutes.

    Garlic added to bacon fat in large frying pan for Velvety Barley Recipe with Bacon and Gruyere Cheese. It's creamy, rich, nutty, smokey, hearty, and utterly delicious.
  4. Whisk in the broth, ground pepper, and milk cornstarch slurry. Continue to whisk as it heats and start to thicken, about 2-3 minutes. Then whisk in the shredded cheese and half of the chives.

    Whisk mixing shredded gruyere cheese into sauce in large frying pan for Velvety Barley Recipe with Bacon and Gruyere Cheese. It's creamy, rich, nutty, smokey, hearty, and utterly delicious.
  5. Add the barley and the bacon (reserve some for topping) to the sauce, mix together and warm through. Taste for seasoning and add a dash of salt and pepper as needed. Serve and garnish with the remaining bacon and chives. Enjoy!

    Spoon mixing cooked bacon bits into Velvety Barley Recipe with Bacon and Gruyere Cheese in large pan on stove. It's creamy, rich, nutty, smokey, hearty, and utterly delicious.

Easy Homemade Pasta

Easy Homemade Pasta, plain Fettuccine, on a plate on counter.
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This Easy Homemade Pasta recipe gives you soft, fluffy, tender pasta every single time.  There is seriously nothing more satisfying than making your own pasta and devouring every last luxurious and silky piece. 

Why is this recipe easy?

First, you only need flour, eggs, and water!!  Some recipes add oil or salt, but mine keeps it super simple with only these 3 ingredients!  The truth is that my recipe is not new or unique.  It’s like many of the other pasta recipes out there.  However, since I do publish so many pasta recipes, I thought I should at least give you a recipe to make the pasta from scratch if you desire. In addition, I wanted to show you how incredibly easy making homemade pasta really can be! 

Second, it only takes about 10 minutes to make the dough and most of that time is kneading.  Now the rolling and cutting takes the rest of the time.  Which leads me to the last point.

Third, the easiest way to roll and cut pasta is to use a simple pasta maker (see below for more on this recommendation) with 7-8 setting roller and attachable long-cut cutter (usually spaghetti and fettuccine).  You will still be making the dough by hand, but then running through the various settings of the roller to get it perfectly thin.  You can also do this by hand using a rolling pin, but it will take a lot more work and time – and even then may not get as thin as you could with a pasta maker.  

WHEN IS EASY HOMEMADE PASTA IS BETTER THAN STORE-BOUGHT?

First, let me say that buying pasta from the store is 95% of the time going to be better for your time and sanity!  And whether it’s fresh or dried, there are so many options available!  Dry pasta is going to be better for any long-cooking pasta recipe, such as casseroles or bakes.  Dry pasta will also allow you to get that al dente texture that is so great. 

However, with fresh pasta, you get a tender (not mushy) texture that you can’t get from dry pasta.  Now, that said, most pastas that you buy from the store will have preservatives or other additives.  If this is a concern, then making your own pasta is better as you can control what you put into it.  With fresh pasta, you can also save money on the cost when you make it yourself.  Fresh pasta in the dairy section is usually much more expensive than dry pasta.  You can make a ton of it for much less cost.  

Here are some of my favorite dinners to use fresh pasta in (pictured above).  My most recent pasta recipe is my Creamy Pasta Primavera with roasted asparagus, corn, carrots, and tomatoes.  It’s utterly delicious!  Next is my Healthy Fettuccine Alfredo with Prosciutto that is lighter because it replaces the heavy cream with 1% milk and thickens the sauce with cornstarch.  It tastes just as indulgent as the more traditional heavier version!  Then there is using it with a simple tomato sauce, either from a jar or homemade.  I love to pair it with my Healthy Meatballs with Zucchini.  Or I make a Tomato Cream Sauce that brings a hint of tang with the addition of sour cream.  My very simple Ground Chicken Tomato sauce with Ricotta is delicious too!  

Quick note!  This post contains affiliate links, which means I earn a commission (at no extra cost to you) if you purchase from them.  This commission is what helps me keep this blog afloat :).  I also share these links because I have used the products, genuinely love them, and want you to know exactly what I used. 

EQUIPMENT NEEDED

For the dough, you will not need anything special. You can either make the dough right on a clean flat surface or in a large bowl.

For rolling and cutting the pasta, I recommend a Pasta Maker with roller and cutting attachment. It’s incredibly easy to use with a cutting attachment that easily slides right in and a handle that moves from the cutter pieces to the roller piece. It also has a clamp to safely and securely lock the pasta maker in place on your counter so it doesn’t move around.

MAKING YOUR EASY HOMEMADE PASTA DOUGH

We are all extremely busy and making dinner during the week can be overwhelming. Here are steps you can prepare ahead to save time on busy nights! (See the full recipe below) 

Either in a large clean bowl or on a clean, dry surface, add the flour in a pile. Create a well in the center using your fingers. Crack the eggs into the well and then gently beat them with a fork in the center.

Using the fork, gently start to mix in the flour until all of the flour and the eggs are combined.

Then start to knead the dough until it all comes together. At this point you can transfer the dough to a clean, floured surface or continue to knead the dough in the bowl. Knead the dough for 4-5 minutes.

dough formed into a ball in white bowl for Easy Homemade PAsta recipe.

Hand kneading dough on floured counter for Easy Homemade Pasta recipe.

dough ball on floured counter for Easy Homemade Pasta recipe.

How long can I store the dough in the fridge?

You can make the dough ahead and store it in the fridge for up to 4-5 days if sealed tightly so no air can reach the dough.   

Can I freeze the dough?

Yes, you can freeze the dough in a freezer bag or container for up to 1-2 months.  If you vacuum seal the dough, you can store it up to a 12 months.

ROLL & CUT THE PASTA 

Prepare a large platter or sheet pan with a small amount of cornmeal or semolina on the bottom. This will be to catch your pasta ribbons or place the pasta on once it is cut so that it doesn’t stick together.

Cut your doug ball into quarters. Take one quarter for rolling and cover the rest with a damp towel or plastic wrap. Using fingers, press the quarter of dough into an oval shape that about 1/4 to 1/2 inch thick so that it fits into the widest setting of the pasta roller, setting 0 or 1.

Guide the end of the oval into the pasta roller and then adjust the setting to the next highest setting. Continue to do this gently guiding the dough through the roller for each setting and catching the dough with your hand as it comes through.

Thick piece of pasta dough going through the pasta roller with hand catching the dough at the bottom for Easy Homemade Pasta recipe.

Thick piece of pasta dough going through the pasta roller with hand catching the dough at the bottom for Easy Homemade Pasta recipe.

Thin piece of pasta dough going through the pasta roller with hand catching the dough at the bottom for Easy Homemade Pasta recipe.

Once you have worked your way through to the highest roller setting, you should have a very thin, very long sheet of pasta. If you have a cutting attachment, run the dough through your desired cut with the pan with cornmeal/semolina on it ready to catch the pasta as it comes out. Once it is on the pan, you can gently lay the pasta flat or take small amounts and roll them into ‘nests’.

Easy Homemade Pasta plain Fettuccine on a sheet pan with cornmeal.

Cutting by Hand: Gently and loosely fold the pasta sheet in half and then in half again. Using a very sharp knife, cut the pasta into long ribbons and then separate onto the pan with cornmeal/semolina.

How do I store the freshly cut pasta?

At this point, if you are going to roll out more dough, be sure to keep the pasta that you just made sealed in an airtight container in the refrigerator so that it doesn’t dry out or get too warm and start to stick.  You can store fresh pasta in the fridge for up to 5 days – total, including the time you stored the dough.  

STORE & COOK THE PASTA 

Fresh pasta cooks much faster than dried pasta.  So, make sure that you are ready to serve the pasta before starting to cook it.  It will taste best right after it is cooked and tossed with whatever sauce you have.

Bring a large pot of water up to a boil. Add a tsp of salt to the water and then add a large handful of the pasta to the boiling water and stir so they do not stick together. Cook for 3-5 minutes – do not overcook as fresh pasta can get mushy fast! Drain the pasta and serve with the sauce of your choice!

ENJOY!  😍 Carrie

Easy Homemade Pasta, plain Fettuccine, on a plate on counter.

Have you tried this recipe? If so, please leave a ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️ star rating in the recipe below! I love to hear your feedback and your rating helps others to find this recipe. Thanks so much!

Easy Homemade Pasta Recipe

This Easy Homemade Pasta recipe gives you soft, fluffy, tender pasta every single time.  There is seriously nothing more satisfying than making your own pasta and devouring every last luxurious and silky piece. This recipe is easy because there are only 3 ingredients (flour, eggs, and water), and has only a few easy steps. #homemadepasta #pastarecipe

Course Main Course, Side Dish
Cuisine American, Italian
Keyword homemade pasta, pasta, pasta dough
Prep Time 20 minutes
Cook Time 10 minutes
Resting Time 30 minutes
Total Time 1 hour
Servings 24 ounces pasta
Author Carrie Tyler

Ingredients

  • 3 cups All Purpose Flour (for mixing)
  • 2-5 tablespoons All Purpose Flour (for kneading)
  • 5 Eggs, large
  • 1-2 tablespoons Water (if needed)
  • 3-4 tablespoons Semolina or Cornmeal (for preventing pasta ribbons from sticking)

Instructions

Make the Pasta Dough

  1. Either in a large clean bowl or on a clean, dry surface, add the flour in a pile. Create a well in the center using your fingers. Crack the eggs into the well and then gently beat them with a fork in the center.

  2. Using the fork, gently start to mix in the flour until all of the flour and the eggs are combined.

  3. Then start to knead the dough until it all comes together. At this point you can transfer the dough to a clean, floured surface or continue to knead the dough in the bowl. Knead the dough for 4-5 minutes.

    Hand kneading dough on floured counter for Easy Homemade Pasta recipe.
  4. Wrap the dough in plastic wrap or tightly seal it in the bowl and let it sit in the refrigerator for 30 minutes up to 24 hours.

Roll and Cut the Pasta

  1. Prepare a large platter or sheet pan with a small amount of cornmeal or semolina on the bottom. This will be to catch your pasta ribbons or place the pasta on once it is cut so that it doesn't stick together.

  2. Cut your doug ball into quarters. Take one quarter for rolling and cover the rest with a damp towel or plastic wrap. Using fingers, press the quarter of dough into an oval shape that about 1/4 to 1/2 inch thick so that it fits into the widest setting of the pasta roller, setting 0 or 1.

    Thick piece of pasta dough going through the pasta roller with hand catching the dough at the bottom for Easy Homemade Pasta recipe.
  3. Guide the end of the oval into the pasta roller and then adjust the setting to the next highest setting. Continue to do this gently guiding the dough through the roller for each setting and catching the dough with your hand as it comes through.

    Thick piece of pasta dough going through the pasta roller with hand catching the dough at the bottom for Easy Homemade Pasta recipe.
  4. Once you have worked your way through to the highest roller setting, you should have a very thin, very long sheet of pasta. If you have a cutting attachment, run the dough through your desired cut with the pan with cornmeal/semolina on it ready to catch the pasta as it comes out. Once it is on the pan, you can gently lay the pasta flat or take small amounts and roll them into 'nests'.

    Cutting by Hand: Gently and loosely fold the pasta sheet in half and then in half again. Using a very sharp knife, cut the pasta into long ribbons and then separate onto the pan with cornmeal/semolina.

    Easy Homemade Pasta plain Fettuccine on a sheet pan with cornmeal.
  5. At this point, if you are going to roll out more dough, be sure to keep the pasta that you just made covered with a damp towel (not wet, just ever so damp) in the refrigerator, so that it doesn't dry out or get too warm and start to stick.

Cook the pasta

  1. Bring a large pot of water up to a boil. Add a tsp of salt to the water and then add a large handful of the pasta to the boiling water and stir so they do not stick together. Cook for 3-5 minutes – do not overcook as fresh pasta can get mushy fast! Drain the pasta and serve with the sauce of your choice!