Thursday, March 14, 2013

40 Meatless Meals: Quinoa Risotto with Caramelized Fennel

Quinoa is a grain that can be used much like rice, as evidenced in this risotto-style preparation, but is very high in protein, making for a meal that satisfies all evening. I recommend using a good heavy skillet for this, if possible, to help cook everything evenly.

Serves three as a main dish, six as a side.
  • 1 cup dry quinoa
  • 3 T butter, divided
  • 2 T olive oil
  • 1 medium fennel bulb, sliced and cut into one-inch pieces
  • 1 medium onion, chopped fine
  • salt and white pepper
  • ½ cup dry white wine
  • 3-4 cups low-sodium vegetable stock
  • ¼ cup grated Parmesan, plus more for garnish
Toast dry quinoa in a large (12") skillet for about three minutes on medium-high, stirring frequently. Remove and set aside.

Heat oil and 2 T butter in skillet, add fennel and onion, spreading them evenly across the surface of the pan. Cook for about 25 minutes, until caramelized, stirring only every 5 minutes or so. Remove and set aside, leaving any excess oil in the pan.

Add remaining 1 T butter to pan and melt. Add quinoa and cook 1 minute, stirring to coat all the grains in oil.  Turn heat up to high, and add white wine. Stir to distribute evenly, and cook until evaporated. Add stock about ½ cup at a time, stirring frequently and adding more only when it has all been absorbed. Continue until tender, using more water or stock if needed. Off heat, stir in vegetables and cheese.

Serve sprinkled with extra Parmesan and garnished with a fennel sprig, if desired.

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