These are the kinds of silly things we think about when we’ve been in the kitchen for days on end. Not that we’re complaining, of course.
We can’t really equate this dish at all to risotto, by name or otherwise, because it doesn’t taste the least bit like risotto. It tastes like quinoa cooked in stock and wine with mushrooms and a bit of cheese, which is, of course, exactly what risotto is, but the textures of the dishes are very different. There is a time and place for each. Today is the time for Mushroom Quinotto.
Mushroom Quinoa Risotto
So far most of our quinoa dishes have started with cooked quinoa. This one starts with uncooked quinoa because we’re going to cook it a little differently. Rather than steaming the grains in water on the stovetop (or in a rice cooker), we’re toasting them in a pan first, then steaming them with herbs and spices directly in stock as the cooking liquid.
makes enough for 1 or 2 or 3 or 4
1-2 tablespoons cooking oil (I used grapeseed, you can use canola)
1 cup quinoa, rinsed and drained
1½ – 2 cups rich chicken or vegetable stock
1 bay leaf
a couple sprigs of fresh thyme
another 1-2 tablespoons cooking oil
1 small onion, very finely chopped
2-3 garlic cloves, minced
1 cup brown cremini mushrooms, washed and sliced
1 cup shiitake mushrooms, washed and sliced
1 cup oyster mushrooms, washed and sliced
½ cup dry white wine
¼ to ½ cup grated Parmesan cheese
chopped fresh parsley for garnish
Heat cooking oil in a medium saucepan over medium heat. Add the quinoa and toast, stirring, for 2 to 3 minutes. Add 1½ cups stock (to start, you can add more later), bay leaf, thyme, and a pinch of salt. Increase the heat, bring to a boil, the reduce heat and simmer 20 to 25 minutes until the quinoa is very tender. If you need to, add more stock during the cooking process.
Remove the bay leaf and thyme sprigs from the pot and discard them. Set the quinoa aside.
In another pan, heat another 1-2 tablespoons cooking oil over medium heat. Add the onions and cook until translucent, about 3 minutes. Add the garlic and cook until fragrant. Add the mushrooms and cook about 5-6 minutes. Add the white wine and cook until it is about halfway evaporated.
Pour quinoa into the mushroom mixtures (or vice versa, it doesn’t matter). Stir gently. Taste for seasoning and adjust salt and pepper to taste. You can stir in a few tablespoons of grated parmesan here, but I prefer to pass a small bowl of grated Parmesan at the table. Garnish with fresh chopped parsley.