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.