Quinotto – it’s a funny name but this make over of risotto is absolutely delicious. Gone is the stodginess usually associated with risotto as rice is replaced with quinoa for a lighter, healthier and protein packed alternative.
I used to be a huge lover of risottos. HUGE! In fact I made them all the time when I was single, but after a while the stodginess of risotto got to me. I’d always feel a little bit sick and uncomfortable afterwards, and it was a good year before I made it again. A year later it was just as heavy as I remembered so I gave up and forgot all about risotto for a while.
Then one day I decided to try using quinoa in place of rice and it worked beautifully and was a delicious and healthy lunch that I’ve made over and over again.
My favourite way to eat quinoa risotto (quinotto) is with roasted cherry tomatoes. The sweet and slightly acidic cherry tomatoes are little flavour bombs, releasing their beautiful juices as you break them open. Coupled with peppery rocket and a few dollops of pesto it’s a comforting dish you no longer need to feel guilty about enjoying. That’s assuming you don’t cover it in a mass of parmesan!
Have you tried quinotto (quinoa risotto) before? What did you think of it?
- 250g (1½ cups) cherry tomatoes
- 2 cloves of garlic, paper on
- 2 tbs olive oil
- 4 – 5 cups of vegetable stock
- 1 tbs butter
- ½ brown onion, diced
- 1½ cups quinoa, rinsed under running water for 2 minutes
- ⅓ cup white wine (optional)
- ¾ cup rocket leaves
- salt and pepper
- BASIL PESTO:
- ½ cup basil leaves, packed
- 2 tbs cashews
- 2 tbs grated parmesan cheese
- 1 small clove of garlic
- 1½ tbs olive oil
- salt and pepper
- Preheat the oven to 180 celsius (350 fahrenheit) and toss the cherry tomatoes and garlic in 1 tbs of olive oil and place in a small baking tray. Roast for 20 minutes or until tender and the skin has started to shrivel and split.
- While the tomatoes are roasting place the basil leaves, cashews, garlic, parmesan and oil in a food processor. Pulse to combine.
- Place a medium saucepan over a high heat and add the vegetable stock. Bring to a boil. Cover and reduce the heat to low.
- Place a large saucepan over a medium heat and add the butter. Once the butter has melted add the onion and cook until translucent, about 5 minutes. Remove the garlic cloves from baking tray and squeeze the garlic from the paper and add to the onions. Squash the roasted garlic and cook for 1 minute. Add the quinoa and coat in the butter, onion and garlic mixture until the quinoa starts to turn translucent.
- Add the wine and cook until it’s absorbed. Add the stock, a ladle at a time, and cook until absorbed before adding another ladleful, stirring as you go. Once the quinoa is tender remove the saucepan from the heat and add the remaining 1 tbs of olive oil and half the cherry tomatoes. Stir, squashing the cherry tomatoes against the side of the saucepan to release their juices. Check the seasoning and adjust as necessary. Lastly add the rocket leaves and stir to combine before serving immediately with dollops of pesto.