t AJ's Quinoa Risotto Pronto - Ethical Hedonist AJ's Quinoa Risotto Pronto - Ethical Hedonist

AJ’s Quinoa Risotto Pronto

October 29, 2014 in Features

AJ’s Quinoa Risotto Pronto




I adore making risotto. There is something wonderfully therapeutic about nursing this dish into creamy perfection, it is a pleasant mediation after a busy working day. I also like to playing around with ingredients, according to the seasons and find the very best crumbly, golden yellow parmesan to finish the dish to perfection.
Then I started to wonder, what if I tried to reinvent risotto with super nutritious quinoa? Would it turn out to be a super quick culinary hit or a bland disaster?
The secret of making risotto with delicate quinoa is to treat these healthy grains with love and great respect. Simmer the grains very gently, don’t add to much stock at once and the good news it takes about half the time of arborio rice – so hey presto, risotto pronto packed with super nutrition and taste.
Here is my tip – I’ve just spotted British grown quinoa at Wholefoods in Piccadilly and Borough Market has the most amazing parmesan that I can’t resist eating on the way home!


You will need:


3-4 chopped shallots or 2 chopped leeks with chopped celery

Finest Quality Artisan Olive Oil

350g Arborio Rice/Quinoa

One Pint of Vegetarian/Vegan/Chicken stock (AJ recommends Marigold Organic Vegetable powder available from www.naturalcollection.com)

1 tbsp dried wild mushrooms (available from your local farmers market, Wholefoods and selected supermarkets)

225g sliced organic chestnut mushrooms (available from your local farmers market, Wholefoods and selected supermarkets)

Freshly grated Parmesan to serve (find the best at Borough Market or your local farmers market)

2 tbsp chopped fresh parsley

Handful of wild rocket


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Start by coating the bottom of a large, heavy bottom sauté pan with a splash of high quality, artisan olive oil. Then sauté 4 chopped shallots gently in a large heavy bottom pan until they turn transparent in colour. This should take around 5 minutes but keep your eye on them at all times, as it is imperative that they don’t burn!

If you prefer, substitute the shallots for 2 chopped leeks and one piece of chopped celery.

For a standard risotto, add Arborio rice to the sauté mixture and stir.

However, for a healthier version, quinoa is a delicious, protein rich alternative.

This gentle grain is very delicate so be sure to cook on a very gentle heat, for five minutes.

Meanwhile, sauté the pre-soaked wild mushrooms in a separate pan in artisan olive oil to soften for 2 to 3 minutes. This brings out their deliciously nutty flavour and tenderises.

To your rice/quinoa add vegetarian, vegan or chicken stock – depending on your dietary requirements – ladle by ladle. Alison Jane recommends Marigold Organic Vegetable Powder, a real store cupboard food hero, utterly delicious in a wide array of dishes.

To the gently simmering mixture add your sautéed mushrooms and watch, nurture and gently stir for 10-12 minutes if using quinoa and 20-25 if using Arborio rice.

The delicate nature of quinoa means it cooks quickly and is therefore great when you want a speedy, nutritious and delicious meal.

Finally, turn off the heat and add the finest quality grated Parmesan – it should be a wonderfully crumbly, sunshine coloured hunk of golden goodness with a nutty, sweet flavour and irregular shape.

Grate the Parmesan straight into the pan and cover with a clean tea towel for 2-3 minutes before serving.

Add freshly chopped parsley or a little mound of wild rocket on each plate to garnish.





about the author

Alison Jane Reid

Alison Jane Reid - Journalist, Editor & Emerald Princess of Slow, Sustainable Luxury Living - 18 year track record interviewing real icons for: The Times, The Lady, You, The Mirror and Country Life. Now leading her alluring fairtrade, emerald revolution - Don’t Miss Out - Have you joined The Ethical Hedonist set?

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