In the words of Frank Costanza: “I’m back, baby!” Welcome to the freshly anointed MM column, in which I try (try!) to post recipes more frequently on said Mondays. This one comes from my friend and longtime student Alli, whose devotion to quinoa and sheer enthusiasm for this recipe convinced me quickly that it’s a total winner. It’s seasonal. It’s green. It’s stand-at-your-open-fridge-and-snack-on-it-right-out-of-the-tupperware good. It’s adapted from Bon Appétit.
Quinoa & Spring Vegetable Pilaf
1 1/2 c. quinoa, well rinsed
1 c. vegetable broth
2 c. frozen petite peas, thawed, divided
5 tbsp. chopped fresh mint leaves, divided
1 garlic clove, peeled
3 tbsp. butter or olive oil
1 lg. leek (white and pale green parts only), halved, thinly sliced (about 1 c.)
3/4 c. sliced shallots
8 oz. fresh shiitake mushrooms, stemmed, thickly sliced
1 bunch asparagus, trimmed, cut on diagonal into 1-in. pieces
Bring 2 1/2 c. water to boil in small saucepan. Add quinoa and 1 tsp. salt; return to boil, reduce heat to low, cover, simmer until quinoa is tender and water is absorbed, 15 – 17 min. Drain if necessary.
Puree broth, 1 c. peas, 4 tbsp. mint, and garlic in food processor until smooth. Melt butter (or add olive oil) in large nonstick skillet over medium heat. Add leek and shallots; sauté until soft and light brown, about 4 min. Stir in mushrooms, then asparagus; sauté until mushrooms are tender and asparagus is crisp-tender, about 5 minutes. Mix in puree and 1 c. peas; stir until heated through, about 2 min. Add quinoa; stir to coat.
Divide pilaf among bowls; sprinkle with remaining 1 tbsp. mint, serve.