Putting the sage pesto into a squeeze bottle makes it super easy to drizzle over the completed risotto. You can use a bowl, and drizzle with a spoon.
I like "medium cook" barley. It holds up better than quick cook which has a tendency to get mushy, but it cooks faster than the "regular" barley. Be sure to adjust cooking times to your specific package instructions!
I have used both sherry and white wine in this recipe with success. I like the flavor of sherry best, but both are good. The main consideration is that it is bone dry! Do NOT use a wine with any residual sugar.
I always try to make a cheese substitution suggestion for those individuals that just can't "do" bleu cheese. I don't think feta would be a good substitute. I'd try something sharp like a sharp, aged cheddar, or gouda (not smoked).
If you don't want to mess with poaching your eggs, use your favorite style... Just make sure it's got a little bit of yellow/orange oozing out of it?