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Wednesday 10 September 2014

Shrimp, lemon and peas quinoa risotto recipe - surprisingly tasty and healthy to boot!

I'm ashamed to admit it... I ran out of rice and I'm too lazy to go out to Chinatown or the Italian Market and lug a bag home.  But I was craving risotto like crazy! So what's a gal to do? Since I had plenty of quinoa (a nutty high fibre and protein grain), I figured I'd give making risotto with quinoa a whirl and I'm happy to say while its nowhere near as creamy as a risotto made with rice (and uses far less broth than a regular risotto)... its nuttiness adds a nice flavor and its tasty enough on its own I'd definitely make it again.  So here we go! 

Shrimp and peas quinoa risotto Makes 4-6 servings if used as a side dish or 2-3 entree sized servings
-6-8 cups chicken broth, divided
-2 Tbsp olive oil, divided
-3-4 cloves of garlic, minced, divided
-1/2 pound raw shrimp, cleaned, de-shelled, de-veined and patted dry
-1 medium sweet onion diced
-2 shallots, diced (can sub 1Tbsp red onion or regular onion)
-1 ½ cups quinoa, uncooked
-½ cup dry white wine (sub out with more broth if you're planning to make this gluten free)
-salt to taste
-black pepper to taste
-3 tablespoons finely chopped herbs: chives, basil, green onions for garnish
-4 tablespoons butter
-1 cup fresh or frozen peas, hulled
*optional* add some lemon zest to garnish for a bright pop of lemony awesomeness

How to:
1. In medium saucepan or pot, heat the broth to a boil, then turn down to a simmer over low heat.

2.  While the broth heats up, in a large non-stick frying pan/skillet, heat 1 Tbsp olive oil and 2Tbsp of butter on medium –high and add in half the garlic, all the shrimp and sear the shrimp on both sides until cooked through - orangey red and no trace of grey. (1-3 min per side depending on the size of your shrimps). Set aside shrimp.

3. Turn stove down to medium heat and toast shallots and remaining garlic with 1 tablespoon olive oil and oil and 2Tbsp of butter in large frying pan/skillet, for 30-60s (don’t burn!). Add in onions and shallots and cook until the onions begin to caramelize.  Add in quinoa and stir to mix well and cook till the quinoa is lightly golden brown about 2-3 min. Don't worry, its not burnt! 

4. Pour in wine all at once – stir like crazy until the wine disappears. Add ½-1cup cup broth to the quinoa, and stir until the broth is absorbed. Continue adding broth ½-1cup cup at a time, stir stir stirring, until the liquid is absorbed and the quinoa is cooked thru with little white curly tails, about 15 to 20 minutes, or if you like it creamier 20-30min. Add in peas at the end and cook for 2min more.  Season with salt and pepper to taste

5. Remove from heat, and toss with cooked shrimp, herbs and lemon zest. Stuff face! :D 

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