Risotto Has a New Kooky Cousin in Town: Quinotto

Last weekend, we stumbled upon these gorgeous mushrooms and this vibrantly green wild garlic at Queen's Park Farmers Market and couldn't wait to cook them up into something special. Mushrooms and garlic are one of my all-time favourite flavour combinations. Olly suggested I make a risotto which was a great idea except that we had run out of any suitable rice to make risotto. Woops! I then remembered a few recipes I'd seen on my extensive recipe reading and thought let's make a quinotto! Some people read trashy magazines, some read cheesy romance novels, some play video games, I read countless recipe books and food blogs! I must read hundreds of recipes per week, out of interest, to inspire myself, to oogle at beautiful creations and to discover new flavour combinations...

A quinotto recipe caught my eye a few months ago and this was the perfect time to experiment! I remember the recipes calling for heavy cream or double cream, as the big difference with quinoa is that it does not release starch to create that creamy texture that risotto rice does. However, I chose not to add the cream as 1. didn't have any 2. it tasted amazing and luxurious as is 3. it was healthier and lighter this way! Hope you enjoy the result as much as I did.

Just in case you needed more of a reason to eat mushrooms, did you know that mushrooms contain some of the most potent natural medicines on the planet? Mushrooms are full of immune boosting properties and have been linked to lowering the risk of certain cancers. It is hugely important, however, to eat only organically grown mushrooms because they absorb and concentrate whatever they grow in- the good, the bad and the ugly, which is in turn what gives mushrooms their potency. Mushrooms are known to concentrate heavy metals, as well as air and water pollutants, so healthy growing conditions is a critical factor for healthy mushrooms. GO ORGANIC!


Wild Garlic and Mushroom Quinotto

Total Time: 25 minutes
Serves 2

350g mixed mushrooms, cultivated or wild, chopped into bite sized chunks (shiitake, chanterelle, chestnut, girolle, oyster)
few knobs of butter (or coconut oil for vegans)
1 cup of organic quinoa
1 litre of organic mushroom stock (if you can't find any use organic vegetable stock)
1 onion, sliced
few cloves of garlic, minced

handful of fresh spinach, chopped

sea salt, to taste
ground black pepper
a bunch of wild garlic or garlic shoots, chopped
handful of grated pecorino or manchego cheese (or 2 tsp of nutritional yeast for vegans) 

1. Melt the butter or coconut oil in a pan, add the onions, garlic and mushrooms. Place 1 mushroom stock cube in 500ml of fresh filtered water in a pot and heat until just simmering making sure the stock dissolves throughout (or ideally make your own).

2. Once mushrooms and onions are mostly cooked, add the quinoa to the pan.

3. Now start adding the stock, one ladleful at a time, only adding the next ladleful when the last one has been absorbed.

4. When the quinoa has been cooking for about 15 mins, keep tasting it until it reaches your desired consistency.

5. Towards the end fold the chopped spinach through the quinotto.

6. Take the quinotto off the heat, sprinkle with finely chopped wild garlic/ garlic shoots.