Monday, October 15, 2012

Mushroom Quinoa Risotto

This recipe caught my attention ... it blends an ancient "grain" with a traditional Italian preparation for rice.  Quinoa or, in Quechua, kinwa, is a grain-like crop that originated in the Andean mountains from modern day Ecuador to Peru and Bolivia.   South America.  Far from modern, quinoa dates back thousands of years.  The Incans referred to it as chisaya mama or "the mother of all grains."  The name is apt, as quinoa is a very healthy ingredient.  The grains pack a lot of protein, calcium, iron, and all eight essential amino acids.  

When it came to getting the ingredients, the recipe calls for the use of trumpet mushrooms and shiitake or white mushrooms.  Trumpet mushrooms can be hard to find, while most stores carry shiitake or button mushrooms.  However, I decided to use a mixed mushroom pack, which had at least four of five different mushrooms.   The variety of mushrooms definitely added to the plating of the dish.

This dish represents my first attempt at making quinoa.  The use of the risotto preparation provided some comfort, because I have made several risottos in my time. The quinoa definitely presents a different texture than the arborio rice, but I think it  still worked very well with this dish.  I would have to say that I would make it again.

Recipe adapted from Healthy Eating During Pregnancy at page 88
Serves 4

3 cups of mushroom or chicken stock
1 tablespoon of extra virgin oil, plus 2 teaspoons
2 tablespoons of shallots, diced
1 teaspoon of garlic, minced
1 1/2 cups of white quinoa, rinsed
1/2 cup white wine
8 ounces mixed mushrooms, sliced
1/3 cups of grated Parmesan
Salt, to taste
Ground pepper, to taste

1.  Heat the stock.  In a medium pot, heat the broth over low heat and simmer while you prepare the rest of of the dish.

2.  Prepare the risotto.  In another medium pot, heat 1 tablespoon of olive oil over medium heat.  Add the shallot and garlic and saute until soft and translucent, stirring often to prevent browning.  Add the quinoa and cook for a few minutes, stirring, until the grains are coated in oil and fragrant, about 3 minutes. Add the wine and cook, stirring occasionally, until evaporated.  Ladle 1/2 cup of hot stock, stir and simmer until the liquid has evaporated, about 3 minutes.  Continue the process, adding 1/2 cup of broth at a time, until the quinoa is fully cooked and there is no more broth, about 25 minutes.

3.  Prepare the mushrooms.  Heat the remaining two teaspoons oil in a small saute pan and cook the mushrooms until browned.  Season with salt and pepper, transfer to a bowl and set aside.  

4.  Plate the dish.  Stir some of the mushrooms and Parmesan into the risotto.  Spoon into 4 serving bowls and top with mushrooms.  Serve immediately, with additional Parmesan cheese for sprinkling.


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