Left: Mushroom Quinoa Risotto accompanying Scaloppine al limone (without saffron)
Right: Saffron Quinoa Risotto
Quinoa is a healthy substitute to arborio rice, a side or main course similar to Italian risotto. I have used quinoa several times as an alternative to arborio rice for several dishes and have been pleased with the outcome. The light, fluffiness of the quinoa allows the added butter a creamier consistency and a richer flavor and not much is necessary! The mushrooms add a earthy flavor and smooth texture which combines well with any meat variation or alone as a vegetarian dish. Depending on the dish it accompanies, I like to add 1/8 teaspoon saffron to the broth towards the very end of the cooking time. Quinoa is a great alternative to rice!
4 tablespoons olive oil
7 ounces mushrooms, cleaned and sliced
1 shallot, diced
1 clove garlic, minced
1 cup white quinoa, rinsed
⅓ cup white wine
5 cups vegetable broth
¼ cup parmesan cheese, grated
1-2 tablespoons butter
salt and pepper, to taste
1. In a large pan, heat the olive oil over medium heat. Add the sliced mushroom and sauté until golden and soft, about 5 minutes. Lower heat, add shallot and garlic to pan and sauté slowly until they begin to soften and become translucent, about 5 minutes.
2. Increase the heat to medium high and add the quinoa. Stir for about 3 minutes until the quinoa is coated with oil and slightly toasted. Lower the heat to a simmer; add the wine and continue to stir until all is absorbed. Once the wine is absorbed pour about ½ cup of broth into the quinoa and continue to stir and simmer until it is completely absorbed. Allow liquid in pan to almost dry out between additions of broth. Keep stirring in broth ½ cup at a time until the quinoa is creamy and the germ has burst, about 20 minutes. Should be creamy and a little al dente. Add salt and paper to taste.
3. Once the last addition of broth is almost absorbed, remove from heat and stir in the parmesan cheese, cover with a lid and let stand for 2 minutes. Stir in the butter.