Quinoa Risotto with Lemon and Roasted Tomatoes


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 

Quinoa Risotto with Lemon and Roasted Tomatoes
Photo: © Con Poulos
Total Time:
1 hrs


  • 1 1/2 cups white quinoa, rinsed

  • Kosher salt

  • 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 lemon

  • 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


  1. 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.

  2. 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.

  3. 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.

  4. 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.

  5. 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.

Suggested Pairing

California Sauvignon Blanc is a go-to for citrusy dishes, like this risotto.

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