Store cupboard special
DRIED PORCINI QUINOA 'RISOTTO'
We got home yesterday late afternoon from a mini-break/professional development trip to Amsterdam. Once back in the cosy warmth of our apartment, it seemed like a lot of effort to go out to the supermarket to pick something up for dinner. Thank goodness my kitchen is so well stocked. With mushrooms.
A leftover leek, a wedge of parmesan lurking in the back of the fridge, a cup of quinoa and some of Mama Marina's dried porcini provided a regal supper in no time. Now, some of you might claim that quinoa and dried porcini aren't part of your standard kitchen larder provisions. Well, perhaps they should be.
Quinoa "risotto" is easier to make than its ricey cousin, as you don't have to stand over the hob stirring all the while. Like a risotto, you can throw in pretty much anything you like. This is my store cupboard version, using leek (or onion) and dried mushrooms. See here for a 'dressy' variation with roasted butternut, spinach and goats cheese. In Spring or Summer you could use asparagus, peas and broad beans - add the veg for the final five minutes of cooking time. In the Autumn try mixed mushrooms and taleggio cheese, adding the mushrooms along with the garlic and the cheese at the very end. Stirring in a spoonful of mascarpone or crème fraiche at the table gives an unctuous and creamy finish, too.
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Dried porcini quinoa "risotto"
For two, takes 30 minutes
Ok, this isn't really a risotto as there's no rice involved. But it is al dente and delicioso.
* Dried porcini – A generous handful
* Onion or leek – 1, diced
* Butter – a knob
* Garlic – 2 cloves, peeled and sliced
* Quinoa - 200g
* Lemon – zest and juice of 1/2
* Salt – 1/2 tsp
* Dried oregano - 1 tsp
* Parmesan – plenty, to serve
Start by soaking the dried mushrooms in 600ml of just boiled water in a large bowl.
Melt the butter in a heavy based saucepan and fry the onion or leek until soft. You can add a splash of water then cover the pan and leave things to steam for ten minutes if you prefer.
Add the garlic and cook for a couple of minutes. Then stir in the quinoa with the lemon zest, juice, oregano and salt until everything is well mixed.
Strain the mushrooms directly into the pan through a sieve lined with a double layer of paper-towel (this will catch any grit from the mushrooms). Cover and simmer for 15 minutes.
Chop the soaked mushrooms into small pieces (if necessary) then add them to the pan.
Simmer for another few minutes, or until the quinoa is al dente and most of the liquid has been absorbed. If it looks too dry, add a touch more water. Season with pepper and add more lemon or salt according to taste. Serve with lots of grated parmesan.