I've made this dish as a quick supper and as an elegant dinner party first course. It goes both ways, which is key to its charm and longevity in my cooking repertoire.
There's nothing quite as homespun as a bowl of tomato soup with a classic grilled cheese sandwich.
This is a wonderful dinner party dish, because it takes so little work for such a dramatic effect. It is also delicious cold.
Barley is a great substitute for risotto, especially when you don't have a lot of time to spend stirring the pot.