F&W Best New Chef 2011 Ricardo Zarate puts a clever Peruvian spin on risotto, using quinoa in place of rice and adding lots of bright flavor with fresh lemon and lemon zest.
Slideshow: Quinoa Recipes
1 1/2 cups white quinoa, rinsed
1/2 cup panko (Japanese bread crumbs)
6 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
1 1/2 teaspoons minced rosemary
2 garlic cloves, minced
Freshly ground pepper
4 whole canned Italian tomatoes, drained and halved lengthwise
1 large shallot, finely chopped
2 cups chicken stock
1/4 cup crème fraîche, plus more for garnish
1 teaspoon grated lemon zest
Finely grated Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese
Chopped flat-leaf parsley, for garnish
How to Make It
Preheat the oven to 375°. In a saucepan, bring the quinoa with 2 1/2 cups of water and a large pinch of salt to a boil. Cover and cook over low heat until the water is absorbed and the quinoa is tender, 20 minutes. Let stand covered for 15 minutes, then fluff with a fork.
Meanwhile, in a bowl, mix the panko with 2 tablespoons of the olive oil, 1/2 teaspoon of the rosemary, half of the garlic and a generous pinch each of salt and pepper. Arrange the tomatoes cut side up on a rimmed baking sheet and top with the panko. Bake for 25 minutes, until the crumbs are lightly browned and the tomatoes are softened; keep warm.
Peel the lemon with a sharp knife, being sure to remove all of the bitter white pith. Working over a bowl, cut in between the membranes to release the sections. Cut the lemon sections into 1/4-inch pieces.
In a medium saucepan, heat the remaining 1/4 cup of olive oil until shimmering. Add the shallot and remaining garlic and cook over moderate heat, stirring, until softened, about 4 minutes. Add the remaining 1 teaspoon of rosemary and cook for 1 minute.
Stir in the quinoa and stock and bring just to a boil. Simmer over moderate heat, stirring, until the quinoa is suspended in a thickened sauce, about 5 minutes. Stir in the 1/4 cup of crème fraîche, lemon zest, lemon sections and 1/3 cup of grated Parmigiano-Reggiano. Season with salt and pepper. Spoon the risotto into bowls, top with the tomatoes and garnish with crème fraîche, grated cheese and chopped parsley; serve.
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