Weekly Pin: Quinoa with Mushrooms & Greens

Quinoa with greens and mushrooms

Quinoa with greens and mushrooms

This week’s pin comes from the lovely Samantha at Better Bites blog. I regularly drool over Samantha’s recipes, and with my first trimester blech-ness toward food, I can use whatever healthful inspiration I can get.

This recipe was just the ticket. All three of us loved it – Oscar especially liked the quinoa and mushrooms (boy is crazy for mushrooms). I loved the subtly balanced flavors, salty, tangy, sweet, spicy, a hint of bitter, and some umami from the mushrooms made it a very satisfying meal. We used spinach instead of kale since we had it in the fridge, then added a baked sweet potato on the side and called it done.

Thanks, Samantha, from the bottom of my heart for keeping us from eating mac&cheese from the box one more night. I haven’t done it yet, but I’ve been threatening. *grin*

What are your favorite pins/projects/new recipes this week?

Anna’s Favorite Mushroom Risotto

Mushroom Risotto

I love risotto, and beyond the obvious loving to eat risotto, I love to make risotto. Let me be clear: making risotto is not hard, but it takes a long time. It is a labor of love. If you cringe at the idea of standing in front of a stove for an hour or so, this recipe is not for you.

If you’re like me, however, and the thought of sauteing mushrooms, stirring slowly in mindful meditation, sipping on a glass of red wine, breathing in the rich scent of slow-cooked butter and the forest floor, this is for you. Put on some good music (we played Sigur Ros this time, and I’ve enjoyed Over the Rhine in the past, but any warm mellow music will work), prep all your ingredients, pour yourself a glass, and get cooking.

Making risotto is not a chore that we have to do sometimes. Making risotto is something we get to do, when we have the time, when we have the right mindset. It’s a little mini-vacation in the kitchen. A labor of love.

Making Mushroom Risotto - pull up a stool!

NOTES: Homemade broth is best (vegetable, chicken, lamb—oh lamb would be great!). I make my broth in big batches and then freeze it for future use. If you’re doing this, be sure to thaw it and bring it to room temperature before using, and I find it helpful to have my stock close by in a quart jar for easy measuring. Also, yes, butter is necessary—accept no substitutions. And finally, most risotto recipes call for arborio rice. I personally love using brown rice, have also made it with red rice, a wild rice blend, and quinoa. You might want to follow the recipe straight the first time till you get the hang of it, but after that, feel free to experiment! Plus then you can play with the name—quinotto, milletto, etc. (I haven’t tried this yet with millet, but I would love to! I also wonder if oat groats might hold up to it… if you try it, let me know how it goes!)

Mushroom Risotto

  • 6 Tbsp butter, divided
  • 14 oz. fresh crimini mushrooms (or your favorite fungus), sliced
  • 2 4-inch sprigs of fresh rosemary
  • 1 small onion or half a large onion, diced
  • 1 1/2 c. long grain brown rice
  • 1/2 c. red wine (see, some of it even makes it into the food!)
  • 4 c. good-quality stock  (I use chicken)
  • 1/2 c. parmesan
  • salt and pepper to taste

Prep all ingredients in advance—you will thank yourself later while you placidly stir, humming along with your music of choice. If you don’t prep, you will not enjoy the process quite as much 🙂

Heat a broad-bottomed deep skillet over medium. When it is hot, add 4 Tbsp of the butter and melt. Add the mushrooms, stirring constantly, about 8 minutes. At first they’ll soak up all the liquid, but then as they cook the juices will come out and become nice and brown and bubbly and smells oh-so-good… Use a slotted spoon to remove the mushrooms from the pan, leaving the juice. Set mushrooms aside.

Add to the skillet the remaining 2 Tbsp butter, then the garlic, onion, and rosemary. Saute for 3 to 4 minutes till the onion is softened and starting to turn translucent. Add the rice and stir, coating it with the butter, for 2 or 3 minutes—the rice will become shiny and semi-translucent. Add the mushrooms back in, and add the wine. Stir to combine.

Add 1/2 cup of broth at a time, each time waiting until the prior addition has been mostly absorbed before added more. Stir constantly. This will take a while. Settle in, relax, enjoy it. Continue adding and stirring until the rice is just softened but still has a touch of firmness to it  (Snoopy said, “It ain’t over till Al says ‘Dente!'”). This was at exactly four cups of stock for me, but if it takes less, it takes less. If you need more liquid, add more water from a teapot or wine or stock if you have it on hand. You get the picture.

Once the risotto is just about done, remove the rosemary sprigs, then stir in the parmesan. Adjust seasoning with salt and pepper (I don’t think I’ve ever had to add salt, but fresh ground pepper is great). Garnish with grated parm and maybe some fresh parsley.

Serves 4 as a main course, 6 to 8 as a side dish.

What’s your favorite risotto combination? brainstorms? favorite moody cooking music?

Mushroom Risotto

Spinach, Mushroom, and Sausage Lasagna with Homemade GF Noodles

Sausage, Spinach, and Mushroom Lasagna with Homemade Gluten-Free Pasta

I’m so impressed with my fiancé. Really, he’s just… there’s not a sufficient adjective really. Not only is he fun and goofy and kindhearted, not only does he patiently put up with my sometimes mercurial temperament, but he’s upped the ante on kitchen antics—big time.

So I got home from work last week to discover that Snoopy (aka Damon) had made gluten free pasta from scratch, something I myself had not yet attempted. We whipped up some spicy pumpkin tomato sauce and feasted. It was full of yay. The pasta recipe is below, and don’t be afraid: it’s not hard! No special equipment, in fact we don’t own a rolling pin, so Snoopy (who is not gluten free except by association) ended up using a large beer bottle to roll out the dough, as pictured below.

Damon, rolling out pasta with a beer bottle :)

So then I got to thinking, hmmm, lasagna… mmmm…. See, we were going to my pal Samson’s for dinner and a movie, and not only is Samson a ridiculously talented musician/composer/conductor/arranger (check out his tunes on cdbaby!), but he’s also no slouch in the kitchen. Lasagna with homemade pasta might just fit the bill. And seeing as Samson went back for seconds and thirds, Snoopy and I feel pretty good about sharing this recipe with you.

We’ll start with the pasta recipe, which Damon has kindly written up. Following that is the lasagna recipe. Hooboy, enjoy!

Homemade GF Pasta, cut into smaller noodles

Gluten Free Brown Rice Pasta

Credit to Bob’s Red Mill for recipe inspiration. Flour and starches used in our batch were all Bob’s products as well. This recipe has rolled out multiple times for us to be cut as thin noodles (pictured above) as well as the larger lasagna sheets.

  • 1/2 cup brown rice flour
  • 1/4 cup corn starch
  • 1/4 cup potato starch
  • 1 tsp xantham gum
  • 1/2 tsp sea salt
  • 1 large egg
  • 1 tsp olive oil
  • 4-5 tsp water (or more)

Sift dry ingredients ingredients into a bowl. Beat egg and oil together, then mix into the bowl with dry ingredients. Mix well using a fork or your hands, adding 1 tsp of water at a time until you can pull all the dough up into a ball. We’ve found if all you have are small eggs adding additional teaspoons of water brings it to the right consistency nicely. Just add water until the dough is firm and dry, not sticky.

Place dough on a counter dusted with extra brown rice flour and knead by hand for 5 minutes. Place back in bowl, cover, and let the dough rest for 30 minutes.

After 30 minutes,  place the dough on a lightly floured board and start rolling it out. Even if it’s still a little crumbly, the dough will roll out pretty flat. I had to keep cutting it and rolling it back in, mostly to keep it fitting on the dinky cutting board I was rolling on. When at your desired thickness (the thinner, the better), set the pasta sheets aside to dry on wax paper for another 30 minutes before cooking. If you’re making cut pasta, slice it before letting it dry. Any pasta not used in the dish can be kept in the fridge for a few days.

Sausage, Spinach, & Mushroom Lasagna

  • 1 recipe of the above pasta, rolled out in sheets (uncut and uncooked)
  • 0.75  lb. bulk sausage of choice (we used a local sage sausage—deelish—Italian would also be good)
  • 1 tsp. fennel seed
  • 10 oz. crimini mushrooms, sliced
  • 1/8 c. white balsamic vinegar
  • 1/8 c. water
  • 1 lb. frozen spinach, thawed and drained
  • 28 oz. crushed tomatoes
  • 1/4 c. fresh chopped herbs of choice
  • 1/2 t. cinnamon
  • 16 oz. ricotta
  • 8 oz. mozzarella

In a large deep skillet over medium to medium-high heat, cook sausage until browned, adding the fennel seed halfway through. Remove the sausage with a slotted spoon and set aside. Add to the drippings in the pan the mushrooms, saute a minute or two, then add the vinegar and water, and continue to cook, stirring often, until mushrooms are soft. Remove pan from heat and add back in the sausage as well as the spinach. Stir well and set aside.

In a bowl, combine the tomatoes, herbs and cinnamon. Set aside.

Preheat oven to 350. Use butter to grease a 9″x13″ casserole dish. Layer in the lasagna ingredients in the following order:

  1. Tomato mixture – just enough to coat the bottom of the dish
  2. Pasta (mix and match it to form a solid layer)
  3. Half the ricotta
  4. Half the sausage mixture
  5. Tomato mixture
  6. A third of the mozzarella
  7. Pasta
  8. Remaining ricotta
  9. Remaining sausage mixture
  10. Tomato mixture
  11. A third of the mozzarella
  12. Pasta
  13. Remaining tomato mixture
  14. Remaining mozzarella

Once the lasagna has been assembled, cover the casserole tightly with foil. Bake for about an hour, removing the foil for the last five minutes. Serve and enjoy!

Makes 8 – 10 servings, depending on the size of your appetite.