The last book I bought before my self imposed ban on buying a new cookbook until I had cooked (and posted) something from 5 of the books I own was Rena Patten’s Cooking With Quinoa: the Supergrain. I like quinoa but had only used it in a few dishes, so I wanted to learn more ways to use it
I liked the sound of this recipe, as it was fresh and light, used ingredients that I already had and sounded delicious and filling. I also thought it would be great the next day for lunch. It was quite time consuming grilling the vegetables, as I only have a small grill pan. I think next time I’ll cook them on the bbq. But the result was flavourful and filling, with the chilli adding a hint of heat, freshness from the basil and zucchini, saltiness from the pancetta and the wonderful earthy mushrooms and nutty quinoa. For a vegetarian option, just leave out the pancetta. It was great the next day cold as well. Yum.
Book recipe number: 3
Number of cookbooks owned: 198+
New book credit: 0.6 (2 more to go before I am allowed to buy another cookbook)
Pancetta, mushroom and zucchini salad
Serves 3-4 as a main, 6 or more as a side
- ¾ cup quinoa – rinsed and drained
- 1 ½ cups of water
- 500g mushrooms (I used button and swiss brown)
- 500g zucchini (corgettes)
- Extra virgin olive oil
- 125g pancetta – sliced/diced (omit for a vegetarian option)
- 3 large garlic clovers – peeled and sliced
- ½ cup basil leaves – torn into small pieces
- ½ – 1 red chilli – seeded and finely chopped
- 2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
- 2 tablespoons red wine vinegar
- Shaved parmesan cheese
- Salt and pepper to taste.
- Place the quinoa and water in a small saucepan and bring to the boil. Reduce the heat, cover and simmer for 10-15 minutes until all the water has been absorbed. Remove from the heat and set aside to cool.
- Trim the stalk and slice the mushrooms into thick slices. Slice the zucchini into quite thick slices diagonally.
- Heat a griddle pan on hot (or use the bbq), toss the vegetables in a little olive oil and grill on the pan until golden but still a little firm (my zucchini was about 3-5 minutes per side, a few minutes for the mushrooms).
- Fry the pancetta and garlic in the griddle pan or in a fry pan for a few minutes until the pancetta is crisp. Be careful not to burn the garlic.
- Add the pancetta and garlic, mushrooms and zucchini in a large bowl with the quinoa, basil and chilli.
- Whisk together the olive oil and vinegar with salt and pepper to taste. Add the dressing to the salad and toss.
- Serve and top with parmesan and extra chilli if you like.
Adapted from Rena Pattern’s Cooking With Quinoa: the Supergrain
Tip – to deseed a chilli, rub it between your hands, cut the top off and then rub it again between your hands. Most of the seeds will simply fall out.