Quinoa risotto, or quin-otto, is actually a dish similar to the quinoa soups and gruels served in central and South America.  Cooked like risotto, where broth is absorbed little by little, quinoa takes on a softer, velvety texture.  And finishing it off with some butter and park doesn’t hurt either.  I love the extra earthiness and depth added by the shitakes and the bright pesto is the perfect finishing sauce for this dish. Enjoy!




2 tablespoons butter

1 1/2 cups shitake mushrooms, sliced

1/2 cup yellow onion, finely shopped

1/2 teaspoon thyme leaves

1 garlic clove, minced

salt and pepper

1 cup quinoa

1/4 cup white wine

2-4 cups chicken broth, hot

1/2 cup parm, finely grated


3/4 cups fresh basil leaves, packed

1/4 cup freshly grated parm

1/4 cup pine nuts

2 medium sized garlic cloves, minced

1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil

salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste


In a deep sauté pan over medium heat, melt 1 tablespoon butter and cook the mushrooms, onion, and thyme until the onion is soft and translucent (about 8 minutes). Add the garlic, season with salt and pepper, and add the quinoa.  Stir to coat the quinoa, it should be shiny from the melted butter (add more if needed).  Cook, stirring, for a few minutes until the quinoa is opaque and smells nutty.

Add the wine, let it bubble, and reduce by half (about 3 minutes), then add the chicken broth, a ladle at a time.  Let the broth get fully absorbed before adding more broth.  Once the quinoa is tender and creamy, take off heat and add the remaining one tablespoon of butter and the parm.  Stir to combine.

To make the pesto, combine all of the ingredients, except for olive oil, in the food processor.  While pulsing, drizzle in the olive oil a little at a time. Taste, and season with salt and pepper

Drizzle with pesto. Serve immediately.

  • hi i wanted to know how many servings this makes?

  • Claudia

    There is a fault in this recipe: Quinoa does not go creamy like Arborio rice for rice risotto!
    Quinoa needs to be cooked like rice or pasta, and then cheese added to get that creamy consistency.

    • TheKitchyKitchen

      Hi Claudia,

      You’re right that quinoa responds differently than arborio rice; it doesn’t get as creamy as risotto rice, as it’s not as glutinous. However, cooking it slowly, plus the cheese and butter, gives it a creamy texture. Quinoa is typically used in a stews and puddings in South America, where it’s texture becomes much softer than how we tend to cook it up here in the states (it’s almost like cous cous the way we boil and strain it while it’s still al dente and fluffy). The slow cooking method adds a new dimension to it. I hope you like it! xo