Brown Rice & Quinoa Risotto with Arrabiata & Shrimp


All Photos © Christine Elise McCarthy 2013

To see images of my past posts & get links to the recipes – look on my Pinterest board – HERE.


This is kinda outrageously good.  I began by trying to just use the brown rice but I got impatient waiting for it to get creamy so I added some cooked quinoa which magically did the trick.  This can be used like any risotto & you could add anything your imagination comes up with.  I had leftover, frozen arrabiata, so I used that.   The shrimp can easily be omitted.  Vegan cheese could be used to make the dish vegan.

As an aside – NEVER buy this stuff:


At the risk of sounding like a commercial, I thought I’d save a dollar or two & buy the cheap stuff but that was a mistake.  First of all, it foams up like a bubble bath creating a Lucy moment of a bubble lava torrent spilling out of the dishwasher.  And – not only were most of the dishes not clean at the end of the cycle – but all clear glass came out looking frosted.  Just the worst.

2-1-13 UPDATE – I just noticed thus says “gentle on hands.”  Haha!  It sucks as a dishwasher detergent because it ISN’T a dishwasher detergent.  It if for hand washing.  So- nevermind what I just said above.

Anyway – this dish is really yummy & endlessly customizable – so – get creative!


Brown Rice & Quinoa Risotto with Arrabiata & Shrimp


1 lb shrimp – peeled & cleaned

olive oil

4 garlic cloves – minced

1 tsp crushed red pepper

S&P to taste

4 shallots – diced (or a small onion)

6+ cups stock (I used frozen, homemade shrimp stock)

2 cups uncooked brown rice

2+ cups pasta sauce (I used arrabiata)

2 cups cooked quinoa

1+ cups grated parmesan

1 tsp oregano

1 tsp dry basil

1 tsp parsley

fresh parsley

2 tomatoes – diced


Cook your quinoa (in vegetable stock).  Set aside.


Heat 2 TBS olive oil in a frying pan.  Add the minced garlic & the crushed red pepper and after about a minute.  Add the shrimp & cook until just pink.  Undercooking is OK as they will cook further on their own & even more in the warm risotto.  Set aside.

Heat your 6+ cups of stock in a pan & let it simmer.

Heat 2 TBS olive oil in a large stock pot.  Add the shallots (or onion) and the brown rice. Fry the rice for 2-3 minutes.  The rice should become a little aromatic.  Lower heat to medium and add the dry oregano, basil & parsley.  Add one cup of the simmering stock & cook it off, stirring the whole time.  Add another cup of stock & repeat.  At this point – I got restless & added all the remaining stock, brought it to a boil, reduced the heat to low & let it simmer, covered, for 20 minutes.   Check to see if your rice is tender – erring on a tad overcooked rather than under.  If it is still al dente – add more water & steam it until it is cooked.



Add the cooked quinoa & the tomato sauce (arrabiata), the grated Parmesan & the shrimp.  Blend.  Heat it through & serve with fresh diced tomatoes, fresh chopped parsley & more grated Parmesan on top.



Five (5) Minute Arrabiata Sauce


All Photos © Christine Elise McCarthy 2012

vromans front vromans back

This is a really easy, 5-minute pasta sauce.  It is fairly spicy so cut back on the crushed red pepper if you are sensitive to heat.  Canned tomatoes are not desirable – even BAD – (read why you should avoid canned tomatoes & seven other foods HERE) – but they are sometimes the only affordable (and super convenient) option.  This can cost me $1.19.  That is CHEAP for 29 oz or delicious arrabiata.  I guess I will pay for it in doctor bills in the future.  😦

Fresh herbs will also improve this sauce measurably but – in a pinch –  they are absolutely not REQUIRED to make this sauce tasty.

12-9-12 (14)



Five (5) Minute Arrabiata Sauce


1 29 oz can tomato sauce
Garlic to taste
1 tsp each of crushed red pepper, oregano, pepper & sugar
1/2 tsp salt
Fresh thyme (optional)
Fresh basil – chopped (optional)
Fresh parsley – chopped (optional)
1 TBS olive oil
Heat the olive oil. I sautéed maybe 10 tiny garlic cloves whole. If giant chunks of garlic offend you or yours, you might want to crush them a bit with the side of a knife or press them through a garlic press or chop them fine. Just do not burn the garlic and burning is easier – the smaller you chop the cloves. With whole cloves – I sautéed a minute before adding the spices. If you chopped the garlic – add it and the spices at once.After about a minute of both the garlic and all other spices sautéing – add the tomato sauce. Be careful as it will sputter and splatter you when it hits the hot oil.

A few minutes in – I used a slotted spoon to fish out the garlic cloves & put them through a garlic press but this is not totally necessary.Heat over med-low heat until ready to use. Add chopped fresh basil/parsley at the very end – if you are using fresh herbs.