Thursday, September 8, 2011

Quinoa Pasta with Artichokes

Quinoa Linguine with Artichokes
Quinoa Pasta is made from, you guessed it…QUINOA.  Now if you’re not familiar with quinoa, it’s a small edible seed that is loaded with nutrition.  It's high in fiber, contains an excellent mineral content, and is a good source of complete protein.  Legend has it that the Incan armies could march for days on this stuff.  I guess if it was good enough for the ancient Incan warriors, it’s good enough to get me through whatever modern day battles I may face.  In this recipe the technique is more important than the ingredients themselves.  If you don’t like artichokes, tomatoes or Serrano peppers pick some other veggies to throw into the mix.  Play with the ingredients and pasta shapes based on what you have at hand.   In the end, I guarantee you’ll have an effortless meal in minutes that you’ll probably like a lot more than anything you might be able to pick off of a fast food menu.   

2 oz of Quinoa Linguine
3 Artichoke Hearts (quartered-you can use canned or frozen but not marinated)
1 Serrano Pepper (thinly sliced) this is optional
1 Clove of Garlic (also thinly sliced)
1 Roma Tomato (diced)
A Few TBS Olive Oil
A Bunch of Basil
The Zest and Juice of  1/2 a Lemon
Red Pepper Flakes (to finish the dish if you want)
Sea Salt (to taste)

Video Tutorial: 

First for the rustic basil oil, add about 2 dozen basil leaves to a mortar and pestle with a little salt, the lemon zest and juice and 1 tablespoon of olive oil. And crush it all up together and set it aside.
Once you’ve dropped the linguine into a pot of boiling water immediately start the sauce.
In a nonstick skillet coated with a little oil to sauté the garlic for about a minute over a medium heat.  Add the pepper and sauté for another minute or two then add the artichokes and tomatoes and let it go for another 4-5 minutes until they start to develop some color and your pasta is 1 minute shy of being done. 
Drain the pasta but reserve the pasta cooking water.  I used a large fork to accomplish the task.  Add the linguine directly to the pan of vegetables with about 1/8 cup of the pasta water and stir for another minute or so. When the dish looks nearly perfect, turn off the heat, and stir in about half the basil mixture. 
To plate the dish I topped the pasta with the other half right of the basil mixture and a sprinkle of red pepper flakes.  Some grated cheese would have been nice too but I chose to leave it out for my vegan friends. 

This dish is proof beyond the shadow of doubt, that
even if you’re short on time or just cooking for one, you can still make a great meal in no time at all.  Always feel free to substitute ingredients to suit your own tastes.  I’d love to hear your take on this recipe.  Leave it in the comments below. 

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