But this week I tried a new way of cooking this nutty, nibbly grain (seed; whatever) - a la risotto rice.
It was a breeze to make: the same process as making a true risotto, but somehow easier. Less fraught with anxiety. Following the laws of risotto making, the quinoa expanded exponentially, so what seemed like a reasonable dry amount swelled in the wine and stock to become almost overwhelming. But quinoa is both filling and light, so I didn't feel weighed down as I would with the same amount of creamy risotto.
And it was delicious! It was full of flavour - fresh chilli and smoky paprika - and adorned with the most plentiful vegies of the season, tomatoes and zucchinis which had been roasted til soft and flavoursome.
How do you do quinoa?
Quinoa risotto with roast summer veg
Adapted from a delicious magazine (undated photocopy). Experiment with your favourite vegies when roasting.
- First roast your vegies. I chopped a largish zucchini into big chunks, and halved some small tomatoes - enough to fill a baking tray - then drizzled with good olive oil and some salt and pepper. Roast in a hot (200) oven until soft and glossy (for me this took about 30 minutes or so).
- Meanwhile, heat olive oil in a large frypan and saute one finely chopped onion and two or three chopped garlic cloves until soft. Then add one small red chilli, finely chopped, and a good shake or two of smoky paprika, and stir around for a minute. You'll smell the spice and the oil will start to go a wonderful orangey colour.
- Add one cup of quinoa and stir to 'toast' for a minute or so (as you do in risotto making).
- Then add one tbspn tomato paste and 1/2 cup white wine. The quinoa soaked this up pretty quickly for me.
- Now add liquid: I used 1 and 1/2 cup of bought chicken stock and 1 cup of water. Once in the pan, bring to a simmer, then cook until the liquid is almost all soaked up but not quite - keep a little soupiness to it (so add more liquid if you need). Stirring occasionally to ensure the quinoa doesn't catch on the pan (as it will towards the end), this should take you about 15-20 minutes.
- You could fold thru your roasted vegies, or serve up the quinoa risotto and top it off with the veg, whatever you choose (I boxed mine all up for my work lunches, to assemble each day - hence the seperate photos!).