Wednesday, July 30, 2008

Empty Your Veggie Drawer

We have a bountiful supply of vegetables from our CSA this time of year, and so it was very cool to get wind of this recipe for Quinoa Risotto that Project Fresh gave out this season. (Project Fresh is an income-based program that provides participants with vouchers for locally grown fresh fruits and vegetables at participating farmer's markets. They also educate families on how to store and prepare fresh vegetables in order to encourage increased consumption.)

This is a two pot/pan dish, helps you get rid of a LOT of veggies in one fell swoop, and encourages improvisation.

(NOTE: Quinoa is a powerhouse of a food. Though not technically a grain, it’s cooked the same as you would rice, but it provides much more fiber. It contains the right combination of essential amino acids that makes it a complete protein, and also contains a substantial amount of calcium.)

Quinoa Risotto (makes 2 giant meals or 4 large side-dish portions)

1 cup dry quinoa
1 ½ cups water

4-5 cups chicken broth (give or take, because that’s how risotto works)
2 T olive oil
3 cloves garlic, minced
1 cup diced sweet onion (about 1 medium sized)
1 teaspoon red pepper flakes
1 lb. veggies of your choice (pictured here, I used 8 oz. halved and seeded grape tomatoes, and about a pound of chopped mustard greens and Swiss chard)
1-2 T fresh herbs of your choice (Basil used here)
Salt and pepper to taste
Two palmfuls grated Parmesan cheese

For the Quinoa:
1. Rinse off the quinoa and drain in a fine-meshed strainer. Combine quinoa and water in a medium to large pot. Bring to a boil, then lower heat, cover and simmer for 15 minutes.
2. Bring heat back up to medium-high. Add chicken broth, ½ cup at a time, stirring. All broth must be fully absorbed before the next cup is added. Continue in this pattern until the quinoa is fully cooked, tender, but still springy, and has a nice, thickened “sauce” about it. Add more broth if necessary.
3. Cover, keep warm.

For the Vegetables:
1. In a large, deep skillet, heat olive oil over medium-high heat. Add garlic, onions, and red pepper flakes, and sauté until onions are soft, translucent, and just beginning to brown.
2. Add remaining vegetables and sauté until cooked. (NOTE: if you cooking greens, add them last. Turn your heat up to high before adding them—the trick here is to cook them fast so that their liquids evaporate. You don’t want a juicy mess with your veggies.
3. Add the quinoa to the veggies, throw in the Parmesan cheese, stir, and season with salt and pepper.

Other combinations to try:
- thinly sliced cabbage, chopped red bell pepper, greens
- zucchini, eggplant, cherry tomatoes, basil
- roasted butternut squash, fresh thyme, lots of sweet onion
- toss in other cheeses like cubed mozzarella or goat cheese
- add ½ cup red or white wine into the quinoa/broth process

1 comment:

Mom said...

Can I come over to your house for dinner? This dish looks wonderful...