This post is sponsored by Bob’s Red Mill. They make a huge range of quality products including the Organic Amaranth Grain I used for this post. Check them out on Facebook and follow them on Twitter for lots of fun recipe ideas.
With the explosion of quinoa’s popularity over the last few years, it has gone up in price. Like… a lot.
So I’ve found myself on the hunt for the next, new quinoa.
Luckily, there are a bunch of grains and seeds that are lesser known in America but are popular in their part of the world. Bob’s Red Mill has an entire series of products dedicated to delivering these called Grains of Discovery.
It’s a bit of a misnomer for amaranth because it’s not technically a grain at all. It’s a seed.
Typically, amaranth is used is porridges because it keeps its texture but also can make things creamy.
This got me thinking that it might be perfect for a risotto! Not only is this different from a standard risotto, but it’s also a lot easier to make!
No continuous stirring needed.
1) For amaranth risotto, heat olive oil and butter over medium heat in a large pot. Once hot, add onions and season with a pinch of salt. Cook until onions start to soften, 3-4 minutes.
2) Add amaranth to the pot and stir to combine. Then add warmed broth to the pot with the amaranth and stir to combine. Return to medium-low heat and let simmer until amaranth is tender, 20-25 minutes. It should soak up most of the liquid during cooking. If it looks dry at any point, add more liquid.
3) When amaranth is tender, season risotto with lemon juice and salt and pepper. Serve the cooked risotto with the sauteed mushrooms and garnished fresh parsley and parmesan cheese.
For sauteed mushrooms, slice mushrooms. Heat olive oil and butter over medium-high heat in a large skillet. Add mushrooms and let cook, stirring occasionally, until mushrooms loose their liquid, about 8-10 minutes.
Then add lemon juice, a pinch of red pepper flakes, and season with salt and pepper.
Serve sauteed mushrooms over amaranth.
Amaranth and ‘Shrooms
These are tiny little guys. It almost looks like couscous, but trust me it’s a lot sturdier than couscous.
Amaranth doesn’t have a particularly strong flavor so I think you could adapt most risotto recipes to use it. For me though, mushrooms came to mind first!
I wanted to cook a lot of cremini and shiitake mushrooms to add the risotto as a topping.
I just sauteed these with some butter and olive oil in a large skillet until they lost their liquid and browned a bit. Then I hit them with some lemon juice, salt, pepper, and a tiny pinch of red pepper flakes. Just keep these warm while the risotto cooks.
I started this risotto like a standard one by heating some olive oil and butter in a pot and sweating down a medium sweet onion. Add a pinch of salt and cook this over medium heat until the onion is just soft, but not browned at all.
Then add in the amaranth! It will obviously get really thick and be begging for liquid.
Unlike with a traditional risotto, you can just add all the warm stock at once! Start with four cups and that should be enough to do the trick. Obviously keep an eye on it as it cooks and if it looks really dry at any point, you can always add more stock or water.
This will need to lightly simmer for 20-25 minutes until the amaranth is tender.
It’s hard to see, but the little seeds do really get tender and you’ll end up with a savory, creamy porridge.
Finishing off the risotto is pretty straightforward. You can garnish it with parsley and parmesan cheese and maybe a little knob of butter.
Whatever you do, do serve this as soon as possible. It starts to degrade pretty quickly and won’t be the same after sitting for 30 minutes or so.
I’d be curious to hear if others have experience with amaranth. I can’t say I’ve ever had anything like it.
This risotto was just fine in my book though and way easier than a classic Italian version!