Anyone for Quinotto?
Italian is hands down my favourite food so any healthier versions of the classics are always warmly welcomed in my kitchen. This quinoa risotto (or quinotto) makes a great midweek dinner as well as being perfect for a dinner party – top with some grilled salmon or chicken. Quinoa is a wonder ingredient and is actually a seed rather than a grain. It is a great plant-based protein full of amino acids and generally extremely nutrient dense. If you think it's dull and flavourless, you have to try this recipe. The key to cooking quinoa well is to add flavour to the cooking liquid, which is then absorbed into the quinoa as it cooks.
COURGETTE, FENNEL & PEA QUINOTTO
For 4 people
1tsp butter or coconut oil
1 fennel bulb, sliced
1 onion, chopped
3 cloves of garlic, chopped
Splash or white wine or vermouth (optional)
Approx 750ml of hot vegetable or chicken stock (or 1 good quality stock cube dissolved in boiling water)
Small bunch of parsley, chopped
Small bunch of basil, chopped
300g frozen peas
2 courgettes, sliced
1 tbsp grated parmesan (optional)
Juice of 2 lemons
Fry the fennel and onion in a little butter or coconut oil until they turn golden (about 5-10 minutes), stirring occasionally.
Turn down the heat and add the chopped garlic. Cook for a further 2 minutes, ensuring the garlic does not burn.
Next, add the quinoa and stir everything well, coating the quinoa in the lovely flavours from the vegetables. Pour in the wine or vermouth (if using) - it will evaporate quickly but adds a great flavour.
Add approximately a quarter of the stock and mix well before leaving to simmer gently until the liquid is absorbed, turning the heat down if necessary. At this point, add half the lemon juice to the pan and season well – these flavours will infuse into the quinoa as it cooks.
Add the remaining stock and let it simmer gently for another 10 minutes, before adding the sliced courgettes, peas, the rest of the lemon juice and parmesan . Cook everything for a further couple of minutes until the quinoa and vegetables are cooked through but still retain a little texture. Take the pan off the heat and stir through the chopped basil and parsley.
Serve with a drizzle of olive oil and grated parmesan.