Quinotto de Champiñones
I usually dread fall-back but I’ve been looking forward to daylight savings for weeks. Normally a morning person, getting up in the pitch black, confusing the still bright streetlamps with my alarm clock, and starting every day with the say-it-aint-sos was really getting to me. For once, I was willing to trade darker afternoons for brighter mornings. Of course, playing mind games with the sun has its price. As someone with penchant for photographing their food, I’m sure I’ll be cursing the change when I’m trying to get a decent picture at 3-o’-clock in the afternoon. This weekend at least I decided not to fight it. I didn’t want to miss the New York City marathon and knew I wasn’t going to be back early enough to catch the light. That morning, I’d watched the elite women set off out over the Verrezano bridge just before heading out for my own morning run. Planning on a quick out-and-back, I came upon the 4th avenue marathon route just in time to see the lead cars and cameras filming the fast-approaching front runners. Having just missed a picture, I ran along the sidewalk to catch up before realizing that I was literally chasing some of the fastest women in the world. Thinking better of it, I turned around.Coincidentally, this weekend I also completed my final requirement to qualify for next year’s marathon and posted this runner’s recipe for one of my favorite fall meals – quinoa with butternut squash, spiced with anti-oxidents like cinnamon and red pepper – on Devour the Blog. Nevertheless, after a long day, I took comfort in a different kind of quinoa recipe – the grains boiled in broth until they take on a risotto-like texture then simmered with smoked bacon, mushrooms, heavy cream, white wine and a big pinch of saffron. Heavier than my usual pre-run meal, at least I had all year to chase down those front runners.Quinotto de Champiñones/Quinoa Risotto with Mushrooms
This recipe is adapted from Yanuq. One of my favorite sites, I think of it as a Epicurious. Click here for the original recipe. The quinoa must be thoroughly rinsed with cold water to remove the saponin coating, a naturally occurring pesticide that coats the seeds and can add a bitter taste.
250 g (about 1 cup or 9 ounces) quinoa, well rinsed in several changes of water until it runs clear
4 cups chicken broth
2 tablespoons unsalted butter
1 medium white onion, diced (about 1 cup)
3 garlic cloves, minced
2 ounces smoked bacon, cubed
5 ounces (about 2 cups) sliced mushrooms (shitake, crimini, or a combination)
1/2 cup dry white wine
1/2 cup heavy cream
1/2 cup parmesean cheese, grated
1 pinch grated nutmeg
Sea salt and ground white pepper
In a large heavy pot, bring chicken broth to a boil over medium high heat. Add the quinoa and return to a fast simmer until tender, about 12 minutes. Set aside to cool.*
While the quinoa cooks, melt the butter over medium heat, in large heavy skilled. Add the bacon, onions, and garlic. Stirring frequently, sauté until the onions begin to soften but do not brown, about 5 minutes. Add the mushrooms and sauté until they are tender and most of the liquid has evaporated. Add the heavy cream, wine, saffron and bring to a simmer.
Set the heavy pot with drained quinoa over medium heat. Add the mushroom mixture to the quinoa and stir until well blended. Stir over medium heat until the quinotto thickens or reaches the desired consistency. Remove from heat and stir in the parmesean and parsley. Serve immediately.
Yields 4 large or 6 side dish servings.
*The original recipe recommends draining the quinoa. I prefer a looser risotto so I let the quinoa cool in the broth and combined it with