For acorn squash preheat oven to 375º. Halve and de-seed acorn squash. On a parchment-lined baking sheet, place acorn squash flat-side up and drizzle insides of the squash with 1 tablespoon of olive oil, and maple syrup. season with salt. Turn squash halves flat-side down, and bake until soft, about 40 minutes. Remove from oven cover, and keep warm until ready for assembly. Baked acorn squash can be cut into quarters if serving as a side dish.
Meanwhile, prepare risotto. Bring vegetable stock, broth to a simmer in a medium saucepan. turn stock to low until ready to use.
Bring a sauté pan to medium heat. Add remaining olive oil, shallots, and garlic. Sauté until aromatic and translucent about 1-2 minutes. Add dried mushrooms to shallot/garlic mixture and season with salt and pepper. Fold dry barley into the pan and stir continually to toast grains without burning about 1 minute.
After toasting grains, add only enough stock to the mixture to cover the bottom of the pan, about 4-5 oz. stir to combine, and reduce heat to low, bringing mixture down simmer. Repeat as the liquid absorbs, by gradually stirring stock/broth into risotto mixture about 1/3 cup at a time. be sure to cover between adding liquid.
After all stock is added. stir in cream and cheese/nutritional yeast. Remove from heat before assembling.
*To assemble:* place acorn squash halves (or quarters), rind side down on plates or serving platter. Fill each squash section with hot barley risotto. Top stuffed squash with chopped parsley, pomegranate arils and additional.