If you have a bit of time to spend in the kitchen, this meal is a great choice! Its cheap to make, and can be easily adapted to suit the preferences of the family. Plus, it makes for a healthy leftover lunch the next day. This meat free meal provides two of your 5 a day, with ingredients such as the quinoa and asparagus offering a great a source of protein and iron. The asparagus, along with the tomatoes and squash are also packed with fibre and vitamins B and C.
Recipe Serves 4 adults
- 175g Risotto rice
- 75g Quinoa
- 1 red onion, finely chopped
- 2 garlic cloves, crushed
- 1 tbsp rapeseed oil
- Couple of fresh rosemary sprigs
- 1litre of stock, I make my own but you could also use 2 veg stock pots in a litre of boiling water
- 500g passata
- 1 butternut squash, peeled and diced
- 200g cherry tomatoes
- 2 courgette, cut into chunky slices
- 250g asparagus
- 150ml red wine
- Small handful of fresh basil, roughly torn
- 50g parmesan, grated (Use vegetarian option if you want the meal to be fully veggie)
- black pepper
Preheat the oven to 200 degrees (Fan).
Toss together the cherry tomatoes, squash, courgette, rosemary, some black pepper and ½ tbsp of the oil, then spread the veg across a baking tray. Leave to roast in the oven for 35-40 minutes.
Place the stock in a saucepan and heat until almost boiling, then reduce the heat and keep on a low heat.
Tip: Keep the stock hot! Adding cold stock to a hot risotto pan will reduce the temperature and cook the risotto rice much slower.
Whilst the veg is roasting in the oven, fry the garlic and onions in the remaining oil over a medium heat. When the onions are soft and translucent, add the risotto rice and stir until the grains have also turn translucent round the edges.
Add the wine, passata and quinoa, and stir until the liquids have been absorbed by the rice. Add 3 large ladles of the stock and stir to mix through. At this point I usually put the lid on the pan and leave it for 5-10 minutes, but some people may prefer to stand and stir it – your choice! Continue to add stock 1 ladle at a time until the rice has softened and the risotto is at a creamy consistency, this should take between 30-45 minutes. You will most likely have some stock leftover which is normal.
Tip: I use a large flat paella pan when I cook risottos, but a large saucepan can also work – ensure that the rice is stirred regularly to guarantee an even cook.
Steam the asparagus for a few minutes – I use a microwave steamer for 2½ minutes but an oven top steamer will take a little longer.
When you are happy with the consistency of the risotto, stir through the roasted veg, parmesan, some black pepper and serve topped with the asparagus.