The first recipe I decided to try is the Quinoa with parsley pesto, cranberries, toasted hazelnuts & mushrooms. It just worked out that after a trip to the markets last Sunday, I had already bought most of the ingredients without realising! The dish is quite like a risotto, using quinoa as the base & lots of mushrooms! It was the first time I'd used porcini mushrooms (for the stock too), and the flavour is just incredible!
Recipe: Quinoa with parsley pesto, cranberries, toasted hazelnuts & mushrooms (adapted from Vegetarian by Alice Hart)
Preparation time: 25 minutes
Cooking time: 25 minutes
15g dried mushrooms (porcini, for example)
1 tablespoon olive oil
250g mixed fresh mushrooms, sliced if large (I used portobello & cremini)
2 shallots, finely chopped
1 garlic clove, finely chopped
100g dried cranberries*
1 quantity parsley pesto with hazelnuts**
a squeeze of lemon
75g hazelnuts, toasted and roughly chopped
* I substituted dried cranberries for goji berries, because dried cranberries always seem to be sweetened
** To make parsley pesto whiz up 1 garlic clove, pinch of sea salt, large handful of parsley leaves, 60g hazelnuts, about 100mL extra virgin olive oil and 70g parmesan. I don't tend to bother with measurements, but blend and keep tasting.
Place the dried mushrooms in a heatproof measuring jug and add enough just boiled water to reach the 350mL mark. Set aside.
Melt half the butter with the olive oil in a deep frying pan. Keep the heat high and fry the mixed fresh mushrooms briskly for a couple of minutes, stirring until they are golden. Tip into a bowl and set aside. Return the pan to a slightly more gentle heat. Add the remaining butter and the shallots to the pan and cook for a few minutes until softened. Add the garlic and quinoa and cook, stirring, for about 5 minutes until the quinoa takes on a pale, golden colour.
Strain the soaked mushrooms through a sieve, reserving the water, and roughly chop, then add them to the quinoa. Pour in the strained mushroom water and bring to the boil. Throw in a good pinch of salt, then lower and heat and simmer gently for about 18-20 minutes until the quinoa is soft and the liquid is absorbed. Fold in the cranberries and reserved browned mushrooms and set aside.
Stir a couple of tablespoons of pesto through the salad, plus a squeeze of lemon. Spoon a little more pesto over the salad and sprinkle with hazelnuts. Best served warm.
This is a beautiful dish, and with every bite you get the flavours from the porcini mushrooms, the crunch of the hazelnuts, sweetness from the goji berries and general deliciousness of the parsley pesto.
And I love that it has the flavours of a mushroom risotto, but without the heaviness of arborio rice.