Friday, July 24, 2009
Shiitake and Spinach Quinoa Risotto: Four times in six days
In high school, it was chicken stir-fry. My sophomore year of college it was our commissary’s Chicken Caesar Salad wrap. In recent years, it has been Chicken Marsala, peanut butter oatmeal and Amy's frozen spinach pizza. And this past week, it was shiitake and spinach quinoa risotto.
Despite my love for trying new recipes and dishes, I am notorious for getting into food ruts. Once I find a recipe, frozen food product or menu item that I love, I feel compelled to make it/buy it/order it over and over and over again until the sight/smell becomes repulsive to me. When I love something, I don’t just love it – I become completely obsessed with it. (Note: This may or may not extend to situations involving men. And the film Pretty Woman. And the color pink.)
On Saturday night, I endeavored to make a version of the shiitake and spinach quinoa risotto I enjoyed as my entrée at Cru last Wednesday. I wasn’t in the mood for animal flesh, so I opted to get my protein boost via Edamame instead. The result was so delectable that I immediately made plans to use up my leftover shiitake mushrooms and spinach by making it again the following night.
When Sunday evening rolled around, I decided to mix things up a bit by adding in leeks, and by substituting in chicken (my soy cravings had subsided) that I sautéed with white wine and garlic. I loved the new version so much that I knew I had to have it again soon.
As in this past Tuesday.
Since I had to buy more spinach, shiitakes and leeks to make it that night, it only made sense that I make the dish again this week. I may order $17 salads, but I am anything but wasteful when it comes to the contents of my refrigerator. I know we are in a recession – even if my credit card does occasionally slip out of my hands at inopportune moments and I make irrational decisions like spending $20 in shipping charges to have white gloves overnighted to me for Blogger Prom!
So, in order to make up for these and all my financial indiscretions, I made the risotto again last night. Not because I’m a crazy, obsessive person who lacks creativity in the kitchen, but because it was the right thing to do. Even if I did have to make a special trip to Whole Foods for a $3.15 organic chicken breast and a $1 shiitake mushroom that I didn’t end up needing because I had enough mushrooms left over from Tuesday.
This is what I do, people. This is what I do.
Fortunately, what I do tastes damn good -- even the fourth time around.
Shiitake and Spinach Quinoa Risotto
Serves 1 Diana entrée-sized portion
1 4-ounce chicken breast, cut into cute bite-sized pieces
¼ cup quinoa, rinsed
½ cup spinach, chopped
1/3 cup shiitake mushrooms, chopped
1/3 cup leeks/shallots, chopped
1 garlic clove, minced
¼ cup + 1 tablespoon white wine (I rocked the Pinot Grigio)
¼ cup chicken broth
2 tablespoons grated parmesan
Salt, pepper to taste
Rinse quinoa. Sauté leeks/shallot combination in medium sized sauce pan over medium heat with a medium amount of salt/pepper. (We like the word medium.) Add the quinoa, reduce heat, and sauté together until those fiberlicious nutty grains get toasty. Add the chicken broth, ¼ cup wine, and bring the liquid to a boil. Cover and simmer over low heat for approximately 15-20 minutes or until quinoa kernels have separated from their shells.
Meanwhile, sauté chicken breast with garlic and 1 tablespoon white wine in a small frying pan. When quinoa is ready, toss with chicken, spinach and mushrooms. Cook together until spinach and mushrooms have wilted and then stir in the parmesan. Serve on a hot plate that has been conveniently heated in the oven at 200 degrees. (We like our food hot.) Top with additional parmesan.