Thursday, March 25, 2010

Quinoa risotto & the everlovin' lentil

My mission: How to cook supper with a tin of artichokes, a packet of dried mushrooms, a half box of quinoa & a handful of chopped pancetta.

Let me start by saying: I love lentils.

I could happily live on lentils. I co-opted a recipe from Amanda Hesser's wonderful "Cooking for Mr. Latte"-- Single Girl Salmon.  (Wash & rinse green puy lentils. Put in a pan with cold water,  a bay leaf, a garlic clove. Cook slowly till done.  Drain. Whisk in a little red wine vinegar, a little lemon juice, a little olive oil, some salt. Keep tasting and adding till perfect.)  I now keep a giant tub of these in the fridge.  My son eats them for breakfast.  My daughter begs for them for school lunch.  My husband combines them with basmati rice for a variation on kosheri

Here is an easy red lentil soup.

Here are Syrian lentils with Swiss chard.

Amanda Hesser's (& Merrill Stubbs') genius Food 52 has many more lentil recipes here.
** While you're at Food52, do check out my friend Shayma's prizewinning yogurt & spinach dip.

However, lentils weren't an option when I got home at 8 o'clock last night and was greeted with the traditional yet irritating "What's for supper? I'm starving" (Why a 15 year old and a 19 year old can't throw a frozen pizza in the oven when they're that hungry is beyond me.) The last lentil had been eaten.

I searched and scoured through my cupboards and found a tin of artichokes, a half box of quinoa, a third of a packet of chopped pancetta lurking in the refrigerator and a bag of dried mushrooms.  I was starring in my own version of "Ready, Steady, Cook." And what to make? Hmmm. *Strokes chin thoughtfully*.

This is the easiest thing & wildly healthy. (Read the ancient secrets of quinoa here.)

Put the dried wild mushrooms in a bowl with some hot water for 15 minutes to reconstitute.
Put the pancetta in a pan and frizzle a little.
Chop an onion and throw it in with the pancetta.
Chop the drained mushrooms.
Chop the drained artichokes.
Add both to the pan.
Throw in the quinoa (about a cup & a half).
Pour in a can of chicken or vegetable stock and the water from the mushrooms.
Let simmer for 15 minutes, until the quinoa is cooked (adjust liquids as needed).
Add salt/pepper if necessary (I didn't).
Serve with a sprinkling of fresh parmesan.

My husband was happy because I added pancetta (His motto: Everything's better with bacon) but this would be absolutely delicious without it (use olive oil to saute the onion).  The children loved it and it's certainly a more healthy alternative to frozen pizza. And why did I love it? Because it took all of about 20 minutes to make.  Domestic bliss.  Served on a plate.


Wzzy said...

Loves me some quinoa, and that sounds yummy indeed! Thank you :)

Caroline, No. said...

Hmm, that sounds delicious. I'll definitely be trying it.

I love lentils too. I make huge batches of garlicky daal and freeze in small portions. Nothing better on an uninspired, tired night. Lentil craving, now!

shayma said...

oh my gosh- i just happened to stumble upon this today- thank you so much, darling girl. i cld live on lentils, too. love your recipe, shall pass on to pancetta-loving friends. i cant make it (pancetta) and wouldnt dare to change this wonderful recipe of yours. x shayma