“Have you made risotto before?”
(Awkward cough) “Errrrr…from a packet.”
HEY it’s called Star Risotto and The Sister even knows Italians who use it, okay?
But sure, I’m a food blogger and foodie and so I should know how to make risotto. I’ve made paella before and surely it can’t be much harder than that, despite the fact that on Masterchef Australia risotto is the so-called ‘cursed dish’, either being too sloppy or not cooked through.
I guess it’s time to learn though. I found this recipe off taste.com.au for a risotto with a combination of arborio rice and quinoa grains – it sounded amazing! While quinoa is no longer one of those ingredients that only celebrities and model-types have access to, average people are still confused as to how to best cook this mysterious grain.
I’ve made a number of quinoa dishes previously, being my Paprika Chicken with Quinoa Tabbouleh, Prawn Avo and Quinoa Salad, and the Quinoa Granola I’ve been having for breakfast almost every day. A quinoa risotto would be a perfect addition to this combination. It’s a fragrant, beautiful risotto where the cooked quinoa adds a gorgeous popping texture to the rice. I replaced the original button mushrooms with Swiss browns because I prefer their meatier, darker aroma.
This is the mostly-original vegetarian recipe, but should you feel like adding a meaty protein, feel free to shred up some lean chicken and stir it through the risotto in its final stages. The recipe will serve three quite comfortably.
You will need:
- 2 tablespoons of olive oil;
- 8 Swiss brown mushrooms, thinly sliced;
- 1/2 litre (2 cups) chicken stock;
- 1/2 brown onion, diced finely;
- 1 garlic clove, crushed;
- 90g arborio rice;
- 50g quinoa;
- 4 fresh thyme sprigs, leaves picked;
- 40g (1/2 cup) frozen baby peas;
- 15g shaved parmesan, plus extra for serving;
- 25g baby rocket;
- 1/4 lemon, juiced;
- Salt flakes and freshly cracked black pepper;
- Garlic-infused extra-virgin olive oil (or normal extra-virgin olive-oil is fine).
Heat one tablespoon of the olive oil in a large frying pan over a medium-high heat. Cook the mushrooms until brown and empty into a bowl and put to one side.Boil the stock, reduce the heat to low and simmer.
Using the same frying pan, heat the other tablespoon of oil over medium heat. Stir in the onion and garlic until soft.
Add the rice, quinoa, thyme and the cooked mushrooms. Stir to coat everything evenly in oil before beginning to add your stock, adding one ladle at a time. In between each ladle of stock, stir with a wooden spoon until all of the liquid is absorbed before adding the next.
Continue for half an hour or so until all of the liquid is absorbed and the rice and quinoa is tender. Test the doneness of the rice by tasting it, or if you pinch a grain of rice between your thumb and forefinger, the rice is perfect if just a trace of the solid white in the centre remains. The quinoa is done when you can see the little ‘ring’ around the edge. Season with salt to your own preference.
Throw in your peas and give them a stir, allowing them to just cook with the residual heat. Add the parmesan and stir through as well.
In a bowl, combine the baby rocket leaves with the lemon juice. Serve the risotto by ladling onto a plate or bowl, drizzle with the extra-virgin olive oil and crack over black pepper if desired. Top with the extra parmesan and the lemony-rocket salad.
Happy Hump Day, beautifuls! Hope your week is going well. Catch you on Friday xx