Quinoa Mushroom Risotto, Called Quinotto

Quinoa Mushroom Risotto - Quinotto. Marian Blazes
    45 mins
Ratings (5)

Quinotto is the clever hybrid name (quinoa plus risotto) of this rich and creamy dish.

Quinoa is a high-protein grain that has been harvested for centuries in the Andes Mountains of South America. Quinoa has recently enjoyed a surge of worldwide popularity, thanks to its nutritional properties and interesting nutty taste.

Quinoa does not cook up like arborio rice and does not turn creamy when cooked slowly. The creaminess of this dish comes from added heavy cream, but the flavor is delicious, and the texture of the quinoa grain is very pleasing.

What You'll Need

  • 3 tablespoons butter
  • 1 cup chopped onion
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 2 to 3 pieces of bacon, chopped
  • 1 red pepper, seeded and diced
  • 1 to 2 teaspoons aji chili pepper paste (optional)
  • 1/2 teaspoon cumin
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1 cup sliced mushrooms
  • 12 ounces of uncooked quinoa (about 2 1/2 cups)
  • 1/2 cup white wine
  • 3 to 4 cups chicken broth
  • 3/4 cup heavy cream
  • 1/3 cup grated Parmesan cheese
  • 2 tablespoons chopped fresh cilantro leaves
  • Salt and pepper to taste

How to Make It

  1. Melt the butter in a large saucepan over medium heat.
  2. Add the chopped onion, garlic and bacon bits and saute in the butter until the onions are soft and turning translucent.
  3. Add the chopped red pepper, chili paste, cumin, salt and mushrooms and cook for 5 to 10 minutes more, or until mushrooms have reduced in size and mixture is fragrant.
  4. Transfer the vegetables to a bowl or plate and set aside.
  5. Add the quinoa to the same saucepan and toast briefly over medium heat.
  1. Add the white wine and simmer until the liquid is almost gone.
  2. Begin adding chicken stock, one cup at a time.
  3. Cover and simmer until the liquid is absorbed, then add more as needed. Quinoa should be ready after about 15 to 20 minutes. When the quinoa is cooked, the grain looks translucent and you can see a little thread, or "tail," on the grain. If you run out of chicken stock, use water. There should be a little liquid left when the quinoa is done.
  4. Stir the vegetable mixture back in with the quinoa.
  5. Add the cream and Parmesan and heat several minutes more, stirring, until the cheese is melted and everything is hot.
  6. Stir in the cilantro, season to taste with salt and pepper and serve warm

Serving Suggestions

This rich and hearty, if meatless, dish calls for light sides like a fresh green salad with vinaigrette dressing and warmed French, Italian or sourdough bread. It's a rule of thumb to serve the wine you cooked with, and if you used a white wine suitable for drinking as well as cooking when making this dish, that's a good choice. If you used cooking wine, choose a dry white like Soave, Gavi or albarino. (Or choose one of these to make the dish.)  If you prefer a red, choose a pinot noir, Barolo or syrah/shiraz.