Monday, May 14, 2012

Variation on a Theme

I so enjoyed my lemony risotto with local scallions a week ago, that I returned to the same well for tonight's dinner. I picked up some asparagus along with the scallions at Betty and Dale's, and combined them with quinoa, Parmesan, pancetta, and plenty of lemon juice and zest. Here's the recipe:

Quinoa with Asparagus and Pancetta
Serves 4

1 pound asparagus, trimmed and cut on diagonal into 1-inch pieces
4 ounces pancetta, chopped
2 garlic cloves, finely chopped
1 bunch scallions, white and light green parts, chopped
1 1/4  cup quinoa, rinsed
1 cup plus 2 tablespoons low-sodium canned chicken broth
1/2 cup grated Parmesan cheese
2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
1 teaspoon grated lemon zest
Ground black pepper

1. Bring several inches of salted water to boil in a large pot. Add asparagus and cook until just tener, 2 to 4 minutes. Drain and set aside.
2. Cook pancetta in a nonstick saucepan over medium-high heat until just crisp. Transfer to a paper towel-lined plate and discard all but 1 tablespoon fat from pan. Add garlic and scallion to pan and cook, stirring, 1 minute. Add quinoa and stir another minute.
3. Add broth and salt to pan and bring to a boil. Cover, turn heat to low, and cook until quinoa is tender, about 15 minutes. Remove from heat and let stand, covered, another 10 minutes.
4. Transfer quinoa to bowl, stir in asparagus, pancetta, Parmesan cheese, olive oil, lemon juice, and lemon zest. Season with salt an pepper and serve.

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