Monday, August 02, 2010

Summer Squash Risotto

It's that time of year again. The time of year when anyone who has planted a garden is trying to figure out what the hell to do with all the zucchini and summer squash that is amassing in the garden. You've pushed past asking anyone if they have any good, yummy recipes and are now taking every idea you can get because you don't want to waste the stuff but nobody told you that these plants produce like the vegetable equivalent of fruit flies. (that was a HUGE run-on sentence and I don't care because this is MY BLOG).

I can still picture my mother's guilty face as she sheepishly admitted to picking off the blossoms to prevent any more baby zucchini....because if you can't take care of them properly, you shouldn't have them. (Don't go reading into this too far and start sending me hate mail, we're talking about plants here-chill).

By now, you've fried your zucchini slices, made zucchini bread, made zucchini chocolate cake, fried some more zucchini-this time in sticks.....blah blah blah and then the neighbor lady stopped by and dropped off another bushel of summer squash from her garden and you thought "Oh, I see how it is! It's on now, $@$&%!" (By the way, I don't have a neighbor lady who has graced me with any fresh produce so if you're swimming in fresh produce, my address is.....)

See, eating veggies
AND smiling 
Well, here is another recipe for you to try and I can already assure you that it is tasty. Thing 1 even ate it (*twice!). This works well as a main dish or a side....or, in our case, both because it made enough that it saved me having to come up with something the next night; I just paired it with some chicken to round out the meal.

So tie on an apron, Greta and pull out the skillet. Dinner will be ready in 45 minutes.

1 small zucchini, diced into 1/2 inch chunks
1 small yellow summer squash, diced into 1/2 inch chunks (*thicker is better than thinner here because they are gonna cook a bit and you want the chunks to be firm)
2-6 Tbs unsalted butter
6 squash blossoms (this is optional--wish I had had this recipe for mom back in the day-who knew squash blossoms are like the veal of the vegetable world?)
1 medium onion, chopped fine
7-8 cups of chicken broth
2 cups risotto rice, such as Arborio (anything long grain--not instant--will work here)
1/3 cup white white
salt and pepper to taste
3 Tbs of herbs-whatever you've got lying around, such as sage, parsley, marjoram
1/2 cup Parmesan cheese

It's important to have your broth or stock warmed up so put it in a pot and keep it on the stove top while you are making this dish because you will be ladling it into the rice, a little at a time.

In a small skillet, add a little olive oil or butter to the pan and saute your diced squash over a low-medium heat, adding salt and pepper to taste. You want the veggies to be golden brown on the edges and not mushy.
In a larger skillet, saute the onion in either butter or olive oil until tender. Add in the rice and coat with the butter/oil, toasting the rice for a minute or two before adding the white wine. Stir constantly while the liquid is absorbed. Now add in a cup of stock. Continue adding stock whenever the rice seems to have absorbed the liquid. Keep stirring throughout.

When the rice is nearly done but still has a "chalky" center, add in the veggies, blossoms, and herbs. Stir well and add more stock. Cook, adding stock as necessary until the rice is tender. Now add 2 tablespoons of butter and the cheese, salt and pepper as needed. Stir, then turn off the heat and cover for a couple of minutes so the rice can finish. Garnish with more cheese if you so desire (and I do).

This recipe takes a little time but isn't hard by any means. And, honestly, it's adaptable for any other garden bounty--red bell peppers, mushrooms, a little diced tomato added at the end, green beans, asparagus, cauliflower--you know, whatever you've got. Just adjust your herbs to match or change out the chicken stock to veggie stock.
Risotto is one of those culinary "little black dress" types so accessorize to your heart's content.
And now you have one more recipe in the arsenal for all that dreaded fresh zucchini.

Creamy goodness

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

First of all, Dora is do darn cute. Second of all, I love all squash and will now pick your mother's fingers off for picking off the blossoms. I can't get enough of it! Third, just plain yum!