I am writing while watching snowflakes fall outside. I know it’s early March, but winter is welcome to take its leave any time. I want to feel the warm sun on my face and lose the down coats. Don’t get me wrong because I do love the cold weather and all that goes along with it. But there comes a time during the season when I know I need a change, pronto. Update – I am editing while looking at tons of thick, heavy snow that has fallen overnight. One of our trees fell and broke a section of fence that surrounds our yard. Winter, you are officially exhausting me now. We need to break up.
About a year ago, I was developing a recipe using quinoa as the main ingredient in a risotto style dish. A complete protein and high in fiber and antioxidants, quinoa is a great choice to bump up the nutritional value of a “risotto” as I am calling this recipe. It doesn’t have the same toothsome quality of an arborio rice, but it is healthier and lighter than the traditional risotto which I appreciate as we look ahead to warmer weather.
Anyway, I developed the recipe and had three friends kitchen test it for me. They all loved it, and then for some reason that is still a mystery to me, I proceeded to abandon it! Recently, I was scrolling through my photos to free up some space on my phone when I came across the pictures I had taken of my first attempt at the dish a year ago. I decided it was time to get that recipe retested, photographed and on the blog.
The original recipe called for zucchini which I cooked in a pan alongside the shrimp. But, we are not in zucchini season so I experimented using asparagus, a comment one of my testers suggested might be a fun swap out for the zucchini. It worked very well and since asparagus season will be here before the local zucchini, a natural fit.
The dish takes no time to make. Saute an onion or a leek in some butter. Add garlic and then toast your rinsed quinoa in the pan for a minute or so. Add low sodium chicken or vegetable stock and simmer, adding the asparagus spears about half way through the cooking time. In a separate pan, heat some additional butter and cook the shrimp until just pink. Once the quinoa is cooked, fluff it with a fork, add some lemon zest, parmesan cheese and parsley. A splash of half & half is a nice indulgence but not necessary. Top the quinoa with the shrimp and some additional salt, pepper and parsley to taste and serve.
Doesn’t that sound like something you should make this weekend? I served it to some girlfriends this week, alongside a spiced basmati rice salad with cauliflower and pomegranate seeds from America’s Test Kitchen and a green salad with mango, avocado and red onion.
Thanks to my friends and testers, Ellen, Deedo and Ellen (yes, two Ellens!). If you make my Quinoa “Risotto” with Shrimp and Asparagus, please comment below and let me know how it came out!
In other news, I was featured on The Bookmarkk’s Instagram account (yes, two k’s!) where I share some of my favorite things. You can check that out here.
Until next time…