Q: I love the spinach quinoa risotto from Einstein's. I've never seen a quinoa risotto before and I'm amazed at how creamy and rich it is! What's their secret?
Darcey West, Atlanta
A: Jon Wolf, executive chef for Einstein's, provided the recipe and said the recipe was created to feature quinoa, widely regarded as a "super grain," in a dish that their customers would find familiar. "We like to use unique ingredients like quinoa. The general dining public may not know what it is, or even how to pronounce it, but will hopefully consider adding it to their diets," Wolf said.
Speaking of pronunciation, it's "keen-wah."
Wolf says quinoa is versatile and can be used in place of rice in most recipes. It also works well in warm or cold grain salads. Calling this particular recipe a risotto is really only a reference to its creamy texture. This dish goes together far more quickly than a traditional risotto and with far less attention at the stove.
Is there a recipe from a metro Atlanta restaurant you'd like to make at home? Tell us and we'll try to get it. We'll also test it and adapt it for the home kitchen. Because of volume, we can't answer all inquiries. Send your request, your address and phone number to firstname.lastname@example.org and put "From the menu of" and the name of the restaurant in the subject line.
Einstein's Spinach Quinoa Risotto Recipe
Hands on: 10 minutes
Total time: 20 minutes
2 tablespoons unsalted butter
1 shallot, minced
2 cups vegetable or chicken stock, or water
1 cup golden quinoa
1/2 cup heavy cream
1/2 cup shredded Parmesan
2 cups baby spinach leaves
Salt and pepper to taste
In a medium saucepan, melt butter over medium heat. Add shallot and cook until translucent, about 3 minutes. Stir in stock or water and quinoa; bring mixture to a simmer and cover. Allow to cook, stirring occasionally, for 10 minutes or until all liquid is absorbed.
Stir in cream and Parmesan and then add spinach. Continue cooking over low heat until spinach is wilted, about 1 minute. Season to taste and serve hot or warm.
Per serving: 374 calories (percent of calories from fat, 52), 16 grams protein, 32 grams carbohydrates, 3 grams fiber, 23 grams fat (12 grams saturated), 64 milligrams cholesterol, 223 milligrams sodium.
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