Saturday, October 29, 2016

pumpkin quinoa risotto in baked portobellos

Well, it's that time of year again: pumpkin season. I'd like to say that I am spending the chilly autumn days in colorful woolly socks while baking and drinking cinnamon tea but let's face it, it's still 82 degrees in Honolulu and the only socks that I ever wear are while I'm running or working out. I do drink cinnamon tea though. My current tea obsession includes chai green tea and Good Earth tea. I have memories of my mother drinking Good Earth tea and me thinking it was too potent. Now I can't seem to get enough of that sweet and spicy pleasure.

Although the temperature change is minimal, autumn in Hawaii is no exception to the winter harvest vegetable craze that overwhelms the culinary scene this time of year. Pumpkin, or any other orange squash, are incredibly versatile vegetables. They compliment curries, cookies, soups, pies, and even lattes. This quinoa risotto is rich, warming, and comforting, as well fresh, healthy, and EASY!

Risotto can be intimidating. Baking a pumpkin can be intimidating. This recipe takes that intimidating work out of both of those tasks so you can enjoy the flavors of fall stress free. If you are taking on the task of baking and pureeing your own pumpkin, good for you! I have a post with some helpful hints here if you've never done it before. If you want to use brown rice instead of quinoa, check out my recipe for brown rice carrot risotto here for some tips, although this is basically the same "quick risotto" method. This recipe is adapted from Simply Quinoa's butternut squash version. 

Stuffing baked portobellos with the risotto is just a serving suggestion, one that I highly suggest, but this dish can also be served alongside any vegetable as a main or a side.

pumpkin quinoa risotto
  • 1 cup dry quinoa
  • 2 cups water
  • pinch of salt
    • cook in a small rice cooker or stove top by simmering covered until all or most liquid has cooked off.
  • 4 portobello mushrooms
  • 1 Tbsp coconut oil
  • 1 small onion
  • 2-3 cloves garlic
  • 2 cups pumpkin puree 
  • 1 cup vegetable broth
  • 1/4 cup nutritional yeast
  • 1/2 tsp cinnamon
  • 1 tsp paprika
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • pumpkin seeds and fresh parsley to garnish

Cook the quinoa first thing. You can even do this the day before or whenever is convenient for you to make this process easier. Next, prepare the portobello mushrooms for baking. I just take the stems out, give them a quick rinse, lay gills up on a lined baking sheet and sprinkle with salt, pepper, and fresh or dried thyme. Preheat oven to 400 degrees F and bake mushrooms for about 30 minutes. This should be the perfect amount of time to make the risotto.

Heat the coconut oil in a large pan on the stove top. Add the chopped onion and garlic and saute until soft. Stir in the pumpkin, spices (save the salt for last), and about half of the vegetable broth. Cooking on medium heat add the cooked quinoa and stir to combine completely. Add the remaining vegetable broth, and more if necessary. Continue cooking until heated thoroughly and then add the nutritional yeast. Taste for salt. I find that when cooking with vegetable broth I usually don't need additional salt, but this is my preference. Make sure you taste and salt accordingly.

Remove the mushrooms from the oven and the risotto from the heat. Serve by generously filling the portobello caps with piping hot risotto and topping with pumpkin seeds and fresh parsley. This batch will generously fill four mushroom, hopefully with some left over.

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