Risotto is one of our favorite things to make for an easy dinner. A lot of people think that it seems difficult, but it is actually very simple–you just need the patience to stir it and a glass of wine or two. When we saw this Peruvian recipe from Martin Morales’ Andina cookbook that uses quinoa in a risotto-like recipe, we thought it would be the perfect twist on one of our chilly-weather staples. We’re always looking for new ideas on how to use quinoa.
Morales recounts his experience with the dish here: “I’d long heard about this dish, but I didn’t try it until I visited the fabulous Huancahuasi Restaurant in Huancayo recently. Local chef Dave Zavala recommended the dish, and then suggested topping it with cheese. It’s quinotto-style (like a risotto but with quinoa), only creamier and more indulgent. You can eat it just as it is, or as a side for a stew.”
- 4 tbsp olive oil
- 1 large onion, very finely chopped or grated
- 4 garlic cloves, crushed
- ½ tsp ground cumin
- 100g white quinoa, cooked
- 200ml single cream or evaporated milk
- 200g queso fresco or feta, cubed
- 100g Cheddar cheese, grated
- A handful of mint leaves, finely chopped
- Salt and freshly ground black pepper
- Heat the olive oil in a large saucepan over a medium heat. Add the onion and sauté for about 10 minutes until softened and lightly golden. Add the garlic and cumin and cook for 2–3 minutes more until the garlic has softened but not browned.
- Add the quinoa and the cream or evaporated milk to the pan. Stir to combine and season with salt and pepper. Reduce the heat to low and simmer very gently for about 5 minutes, then add the queso fresco or feta, folding it through the quinoa mixture. When the cheese has warmed through, remove the pan from the heat.
- Preheat your grill to its highest setting.
- Transfer the quinoa mixture to a large ovenproof dish, or divide it between 4 individual serving dishes and sprinkle the Cheddar over. Put the dish or small dishes under the preheated grill for about 5–7 minutes until the cheese turns golden brown and is bubbling. Sprinkle with the chopped mint and serve immediately.
Excerpt and photo printed with permission from Andina: The Heart of Peruvian Food by Martin Morales, photo by David Loftus, published by Quadrille November 2017.