Italian Quinoa Risotto Lasagna w/Truffle Oil.
Someone please try saying that five times fast. I dare you.
I think you’ll give yourself a good laugh, and on Thursday everyone needs a good laugh don’t cha think?
You see, my crazy, insane titles (I actually took the word casserole out) are meant to make people smile. It’s secretly my purpose behind them all… or I wish them to be. In reality, I just don’t like leaving a single thing out, but we have talked about this before. No need to be repetitive.
So you guys, I have this little confession that’s really not all that big of a secret.
I am the worst when it comes to spelling and grammar. Combine that with typing fast and wow, you have a whole lot of sentences that make no sense at all. And then you have a few sentences that totally just make you laugh (i.e the inappropriate ones). The only reason I am thinking of this right now is because I just read a sentence I wrote, only it wasn’t me talking, it was hillbilly Tieghan, and it pretty much made no sense at all. Then I just re-read this post and had to add this, at the end of this post I called you guys “scourges” (definition – a person or thing that causes great trouble or suffering), but meant Scrooges, not really a whole lot better, but none of my readers are scourges! I just have to put this out there, if I have ever said something that makes no sense at all or responded to an email, comment or other form of messaging that makes no sense at all, I am SO sorry and please just tell me right up that you have no idea what I am saying and I will try to correct it.
I try, I really do. Grammar, pronunciation and spelling are just not my thing.
How on earth these blog posts go up everyday and somehow make any amount of sense, I really do not know. Or well, I do, they get proofread… and then proofread again, and then there are still mistakes. So I proof once more and then I have other people proofread too. It is a lot of proofing, and then sometimes wondering what the heck I was actually trying to say. Basically, it’s just a process.
I have a feeling I can’t be alone in this though. I mean, I am not, right? Right?
And now we can talk about this Italian Quinoa Risotto Lasagna? Die hard Italian’s, don’t hate me, but I swapped the pasta for quinoa. And while you know that I absolutely whole heartedly love my pasta, this is a pretty delicious switch up. Kind of healthier too, but still totally cheesy because I clearly have a cheese problem.
And um, hello? Quinoa risotto? It’s so a thing and it’s so good. I mean, it’s not really as starchy and creamy as traditional risotto, BUT it’s still full of wine and cheese, and that’s just delish.
So basically this is a traditional lasagna, but made slightly healthier with quinoa. It may seem kind of boring, but honestly it’s really good. So good that I have made it three times this month. After the third time I figured I should probably take some pictures and tell you guys about it. At first I was just thinking it was one of those dishes that I threw together on a busy night and you guys would never hear about it, but then it turned out so good that I changed my mind.
I think one of the reasons I have been making this so much is because one, it’s pretty quick and easy (yeah for no layering!) and uses ingredients I always have on hand. It’s a pantry staple meal. Two, everyone will eat it. YES. The boys didn’t even notice they were eating quinoa (while, one asked what the balls were, but he kept eating even after I told him) and when that happens you know a dish is a real WINNER.
One of my secrets to making a quicker cooking sauce is to use spicy italian chicken sausage. I think it adds so much more flavor than the traditional ground beef. It takes a quicker cooking sauce to a whole new level. Trust me on this one, you have to try it.
The rest is all pretty simple. The quinoa risotto is not like typical risotto where you sit at the stove for 45 minutes and stir. No this is actually pretty easy and you really only end up stirring a total of maybe ten minutes. Plus, there is truffle oil involved. It kind of fancies up this casserole a bit and adds such a rich flavor. It’s a flavor that makes you think, “what is that”, but in a good way. I know it’s a pricy oil, but a little goes such a long way.
It’s so worth it if you ask me.
Also, can I mention that is the perfect dish to entertain with? Believe it or not, we are entering our last week of October on Monday and that means the busy holiday season is so close. So, so, so close. It’s exciting, nerve-racking and scary all at the same time if you ask me. With everything being so busy right now, I am trying extra hard to be thinking and planning ahead. I used to be so good at this, but then this blog happened, things got busy and I lost that trait that I loved so much. Well, I am kind of determined to get it back, and that starts with thinking ahead to the holidays… which I really love doing because I am holiday obsessed. Sorry, but not really.
I know, the Scrooges out there are not going to like me discussing a potential Christmas recipe in October (late October – c’mon), but in two-week weeks you’ll love me, because this is going to be your new go to when unexpected family, friends or whoever show up. This will save you. I am sure of it.
AND if you are not a meat eater or your guests do not eat meat, create a vegetarian sauce. Just swap the sausage for a mix of veggies. I would do butternut squash, mushrooms, peppers and carrots. Then maybe add in some beans or lentils for some nice texture + protein. Adaptable for everybody. Gotta love that.
Italian Quinoa Risotto Lasagna Casserole w/Truffle Oil.
- 4 ounces pancetta chopped (optional, but adds great flavor)
- 3 tablespoons olive oil
- 1/2 small sweet onion diced
- 2 cloves garlic minced or grated
- 1 red pepper diced
- 1 pound ground spicy italian chicken sausage or regular spicy italian sausage may sub regular ground chicken or beef if you do not like spicy
- 1 teaspoon dried oregano
- 1 teaspoon dried basil
- 1 teaspoon dried parsley
- 1/2 teaspoon dried thyme
- 1 teaspoon pepper + 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
- 1 ounce can crushed tomatoes 28
- 4 tablespoons tomato paste
- 1 cup milk I use 2%
Truffle Oil Quinoa Risotto
- 2 tablespoons butter
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
- 2 1/2 cups dry quinoa
- 5 cups warm chicken broth
- 1/2 cup white wine
- 1/2 teaspoon salt + pepper plus more to taste
- 1 cup freshly grated parmesan cheese
- truffle oil for drizzling
- 2 cups provolone cheese shredded
- 1 cup mozzarella cheese shredded
- chopped fresh basil or parsley for garnish
- Start by making the sauce. In a heavy bottomed pot, cook 1 tablespoon of olive oil and the pancetta over medium heat, stirring, until the pancetta is lightly browned, about 5 minutes. Add the onion, garlic and red pepper and cook, stirring until the veggies are softened, about 5 minutes. Push the veggies off to the side of the pan and increase the heat to medium-high. Add 1 tablespoon of olive oil to the center of the pan and crumble in the ground sausage. Cook without stirring for 3 minutes and then begin breaking up the meat and continue to cook, stirring occasionally, until well browned, about 5 minutes. Add the oregano, basil, parsley and thyme. Cook another minute or so.
- Add the tomatoes, tomato paste,1 cup milk, salt and pepper to the pot. Simmer the sauce, stirring occasionally, until thickened, about 20-30 minutes. Taste to season with salt and pepper.
- While the sauce is cooking, make the quinoa. Bring 4 cups chicken broth to boil in 12 inch high sided skillet. Add quinoa, reduce heat to medium-low, cover, and simmer until tender and chicken broth is absorbed, about 15 minutes.
- After 15 minutes, remove the lid and add the butter, olive oil and remaining 1 cup of chicken broth, stir vigorously for 5 minutes, until the quinoa is thick. Add the wine and parmesan cheese. Continue to stir vigorously for 2 to 3 minutes, until the quinoa is thick and creamy. Season with salt and pepper. Drizzle with 1-2 tablespoons truffle oil.
- Preheat the oven to 375 degrees F. To assemble the lasagna, grease a 9x13 inch baking dish. Spread the quinoa risotto in one even layer over the bottom of the greased dish. Spoon the meat sauce over the quinoa and then top with the provolone and mozzarella cheese. Bake for 30-35 minutes or until the cheese is lightly golden and the sauce bubbling. Let sit 10 minutes and then cut and serve with some crusty bread and a drizzle of truffle oil. Garnish with fresh basil or parsley.
And the cheese. Gotta love that too. Maybe extra love that.