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Rigolotto of amaranth in a porcini broth : meals from Sardigna picked in nature

Grains of amaranth… grained'amarante

a neglected food, 2 times more nutritiv than milk in proteins, calcium, magnesium, etc. which brings above all all the mollecules that allow you to assimilate and take advantage of all these goodies

Nature brings us all the ingredients to solve any food crisis present and to come, but isn’t our belief in progress, in a manipulated chemical and allmighty agriculture, realy letting us realise this fact?

Today we are going to make a risotto with amarante instead of rice.

It doesn’t exist so we will name it. Amarantto? a good name but slightly pretentious for such a little and discrete grain as the amaranth. : <strong>”la marante” in French means the funny one ? The odd word for this is “rigolo”. So let it be named the Rigolotto.


At the first encounter grains of amaranth have a slightly earth smell, like a teddy bear which spend 20 years under ground in a treasure box. A good broth will get rid of this quite nasty smell.

vallée champ
As we are going to prove that it can be a meal that costs nothing and which os more nutrient than a steak, off we go in the Sarde maquis for a little walk in nature to pick anything good we find. An hour after, here we are with a douzain of different families of mushroom and wild plants, wild rocket salad, chenopode, amaranth leaves, cousteline, pursiane portulacca olaecera, nettless… and more.


First thing, wash the amaranth grains in water to get rid of the saponins. Some people dont like them.

Meanwhile start the broth with a garlic sofrito and all the mushpods. Once everything groweling with nice noises soupechamp1 throw the pursiane plants, the chenopode and amaranth leaves, nettles, and cold water. slow fire, a hat and forget it for a while.

The amaranth and chenopode leaves where used by South America’s native indians when they had problems of decalcification, and toothaches. These properties are confirmed by todays medecine which has also proved there hipoglucemiant an astringent properties (Conforti et al. 2005), bringing as well essential amino acids to man… Just imagine it nourishes you while lowering the level of sugar in your blood and helps you to get fit… perfect, no? so make it swiftly, without a boil.

The pursiane, Portulacca olaecerae, is the Mediterranean plant for long life. Here Sardegna there is a village where 60% of the population is betwin 95 and 112 years. Guess what they eat? Wild plants among which this famous pursiane, the icone of the Cretan diet…

Now we prepare some little starters. You never know, you might have surprise guests that might be upset with their first encounter with this poor dish of amaranth. People are generally very conservative when it comes to food. What’s this stuff? Is it really eatable? We are first hungry with our eyes. And here in Ital if you have no antipasti, it is as of there is no dinner. poivrons facris2

Tiny Peperoncini stuffed with anchovies crushed with a fork with onions, leaves of cousteline, the best salad in the world – sort of small dendelion with round tipped leaves – and buttons of capers freshly picked from the walls of the church of the village.
We put aside a bit of this crush of herbs, without anchovies this time: some rocket and cousteline chopped and added to a bit of the cold Rigolotto will make the best Taboule.

Why not an eggplant caviar as well, not much work for a good result. Grill the eggplants sliced in two, without forgetting to burn the skin. Yes you can burn… With a fork mulch it with some garlic and olive oil, fruttato is the best olive oil for this, with its’ sour and spicy taste. Wake up egg plants… a bit of chilly will help. As we are in Sardegna we add a bunch of basil leaves. There might be some people on diet as well, so lets give it a younger life to this old recipe : add water and mount it into an emulsion, just like a light mayonaise. The problem then is that it is so good, that you end up eating all the pot.

Now to the serious part : the mushrooms.


Before, importantissimo, a walk to the pharmacy to check them all out incase you dont want to spend your last night in front of a funghi. The pharmacist was not from the area. Slightly unexperienced… a double check in neede at the hunter’s bar.

There, the barber, yes, like in the medieval times, at the time of Ambroise Paré, here it is the old barber who know best the different mushrooms. In his sardo italian grumble, I must say I didnt get a single name for the mushrooms. Anyhow, all the hunters around heiled his impartial and sharp judgement. We wont die tonight.

The parasol mushroom, macrolepiota procera, under the grill. 10 minutes each side, crushed garlic, salt, olive oil. Done.


All the other funghi, one by one in the pan with, olive oil, salt and parsley for the lucky ones.

We named some of them witchmushis… to give a name it always reassure you … They are more red than the earth, and yellow inside which turns dark indigo blue just as you cut it… by magic… a bit spooky no? A bit of toad blood and bat nail? But after a while in the pan they come back to yellow, the flask witch belly comes back to normal texture, rather crispy indeed… delicious.champbleu1champbleu detail

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Back to the rigolotto :

Sofrito of garlic, grains of amaranth, broth. Start eating the antipastis, en revenant de temps en temps pour touillerand come back from time to time to turn your dish. You have more or less 16mn. Be carefull not to make antipasti to easy and quick to eat…

Done. On the side you keep two spoons of it that you make cold quickly to mix with the crushed herbs of the Taboule, and everybody is happy..

With a good dry white wine. Here we have the Semidano of Mogoro Sicilia. Humm…

plat champs

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