Spinach, Mushroom and Pecorino Quinoa

Yes, I’ve finally gone off script! I made something that I sort-of concocted in my very own mind, without the help of a TV chef or someone else’s blog.

The quinoa is back and I’m using it like pasta. As much as I love pasta, it’s bloat-inducing which is fine on a Friday – or even a Wednesday evening, but if I’m to squeeze into my bathing suit when I go to Greece next month then I need to practise mealtime restraint. At least on Mondays and Tuesdays…

I found a recipe for spinach and pecorino pasta a few weeks ago which contained said ingredients plus garlic and oil, so I swapped the pasta for quinoa (mental note: keen-wah, keen-wah, keen-wah) and added mushrooms and tomatoes. Was also supposed to add spring onions but left them in shop by accident.

Here are the ingredients you will need

Cherry tomatoes, cut in half
Mushrooms, cut into nice chunks
1 spring onion per person, don’t pay for them then forget in shop
Spinach, lots of
Quinoa, 60g per person according to the packaging
Extra virgin olive oil
1 big clove of garlic, crushed and turned into a paste
Pecorino Romano cheese, grated, it’s a bit like Parmesan, in fact I thought it was which is why I bought it


Here’s what you do

Cook your quinoa according to packet instructions (I rinse first, then soak in water for 5 mins before cooking)

Prepare your ingredients

Getting a bit better at making a garlic paste – but still not brillopads. I smashed my big clove with the bottom of a glass, then chopped finely, then added a sprinkle of sea salt which makes the garlic mushy; then after 10 secs, I squished the garlic down with the back of a knife until it was almost a paste-like consistency

When your quinoa is cooked, heat a healthy glug of olive oil over a medium-ish heat in as big a frying pan as you own

Add garlic and cook till nice and golden

Add mushrooms

When mushrooms look like they’re almost cooked, add tomatoes

Add the spinach

When spinach starts to wilt a little, add the quinoa, and more oil if you need, and stir it all together into one lovely, slightly garlicky, wilted spinachy, tomatoey, quinoa-y mix

Sprinkle cheese on top, will melt, will be yummers

Serve with lemon wedge

 Spinach, Mushroom and Pecorino Quinoa Stats:

Kitchen cock-ups: 1) Don’t be fooled by the neat and tidy pictures. Quinoa is an absolute nightmare, it goes everywhere. It’s like hundreds and thousands, but millions and billions. Try not to be slapdash like me: reign it in, like it’s a bunch of mad kittens better off for having you around.

2) Despite serving this with hummus and the only two pieces of pitta bread that hadn’t gone mouldy in the heatwave, it didn’t fill up the BF and I found him in the kitchen looking for “more food” a few minutes later. It was enough for me, in my diet-y Monday-night state, but you could add grilled halloumi for a more substantial meal.

Listened to: Bonobo, Black Sands (become a bit obsessed with this album.)

Afterwards watched: Lorraine Pascale’s Fast, Fresh and Easy Food on BBC2. Made me hungry.

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