I adore the Italian love for garlic! Much maligned, but so good for you!
It features prominently in this dish which is a hybrid of a side I once had in Milan. I’ve swapped the pasta for quinoa (pronounced: Ki-noah) and the result was surprisingly yummy and light. This is a great dish if you are a celiac sufferer or are lactose intolerant. I call it, my yummy super food.
Tricks to use when cooking Quinoa:
There are loads of suggestions for cooking quinoa on the web, but trial & error brought me to the following method which gave consistent results.
Here’s my suggestion of how to cook quinoa on the stove top and get it just right, with a little bit of a bite to it. Adjust your quantities according to how much you want to cook, with the following as a base:
1 cup of white quinoa
Soak for a minimum of 15 minutes. Drain the excess water and then wash the quinoa till the white foam disappears. This way you get rid of that bitter outer coating that can make quinoa not everyone’s cup of tea. Use a 1:1 ratio for boiling. I found that if I used more liquid than quinoa, it turns into right royal mush!
Boil 1 cup of quinoa with 1 cup of Vegetable stock or just plain old water. Bring to a boil and quickly cover, turn down the heat to a low sim and set your timer to around 20 minutes. When the buzzer goes off, take it off the heat and leave it covered, to steam itself for 5 minutes. Voila – the perfect quinoa, with just the right amount of bite. If you want it mushier, make sure there is enough water in the pot and leave to simmer for an extra few minutes. Don’t let the bottom burn. (I personally do not recommend mushy quinoa!)
Prep Time: 20 minutes (including the soaking of the quinoa)
Cook Time: 25 minutes
1 cup cooked quinoa
1 onion – chopped fine
2-3 garlic pods crushed
250 gms of diced sweet potato
3-4 tbsp toasted pinenuts
Paprika -1-2 tsp (to taste)
Salt to taste
How to Cook it:
Sauté till the onions are translucent. Add the garlic and cook on low heat till caramelized. Add the raw sweet potato and a little vegetable stock/water (whatever you used to cook the quinoa in). Add salt, pepper and paprika. Cover and cook on low heat. Its best to do this around 12 minutes into cooking your quinoa. Depending on how big you cut your sweet potato, they should not take more than 12 minutes to cook.
Gently stir in your cooked quinoa and toasted pinenuts. Taste. Season if necessary.
Serving Suggestions: On its own it makes a great lunch. Or for a slightly more elaborate dinner, can serve with a side of chicken or vegetables or a simple salad.