My summer squash plants haven’t start producing yet (though the squash is REALLY close to ready) but in my search for recipes to make sure I am prepared for squash and zucchini abundance I found that, well, the recipes got really repetitive. Either way, when we stumbled upon 7 lbs of yellow squash for $1.49 and 10 lbs of Korean zucchini for $1.49 at our local farmers market (CRAZY price, right?), I knew it was time to dig deep and start trying a few things to help ease this into our diet. Squash and zucchini are new to our table, but the nutritional punch they pack plus their versatility to be used in either a savory or sweet application, I knew I had to get to work in the kitchen.
Risotto sounded awesome, but as a mother of 2, I do not have to time to stand stirring ad nauseam while the children destroy the house. Sure its easy to add ladleful after ladleful while stirring constantly until the liquid is absorbed, but a 3 yr old and a 1 yr old getting into trouble is easier, am I right? Plus, who has time for that?!?!?! I am also trying to be more diligent about using up leftovers. Thusly this recipe comes from the need to use up some leftover squash and zucchini from the night before while remaining hands free enough to prevent utter chaos in the house. So I pulled from all the knowledge I have amassed in my hunt for squash and zucchini ideas to create this recipe … and the results were awesome!
SIMPLE SUMMER RISOTTO
- 1 1/2 C Arborio rice
- 5 C simmering chicken or vegetable broth or stock, divided
- 1/2 large onion, chopped
- 4 cloves of garlic, minced
- 1/2 tsp cajun seasoning with herbs (1/4 tsp seasoned salt with 1/4 tsp dry italian herbs would sub just fine)
- 1/2 C dry white wine
- 2 C leftover cooked squash and zucchini (if raw, just sauté in olive oil or butter before adding)
- 2 ears of corn kernels removed from the cob
- 1/2 C grated parmesan cheese
- 1 tsp lemon zest (or more to taste)
- 2 Tbsp herb of choice (I used minced chives but basil or thyme would also be lovely)
- salt and pepper to taste
- Preheat the oven to 350 degrees
- In a large cast iron dutch oven, place the Arborio rice, 4 C of the simmering broth/stock, the chopped onion, minced garlic and cajun seasoning. Stir once to combine. Cover and place in the oven for 45 min.
- When the liquid is absorbed and the rice is tender, removed from the oven and add the remaining cup of simmering broth/stock, wine, parmesan cheese, lemon zest, minced herb and salt and pepper. Stir vigorously for 2-3 min.
- When the risotto is creamy, fold in the cooked zucchini, squash and corn and stir until they are warm as well. Serve and enjoy!
Simple, right? No extra olive oil or butter … believe me, it was creamy just from the stirring. And the oven does the work while you reap the compliments. Good work! In all seriousness, this could easily be whatever leftover veggie you wanted to use up. Peas, asparagus and green beans are examples of easy extras to toss in to use up and stretch this into an even bigger meal.
Feeling like you need meat? Grilled, roasted or even store bought rotisserie chicken would compliment it well. But let me warn you that this meal, even in its vegetarian form, will fill you up faster than you can loosen your belt. Seriously, seconds were not required. And it reheated well the next day for lunch. Bonus! Little reheating secret: a small pat of butter worked wonders on bring this risotto back to its full luxury when reheating it for lunch. Don’t feel guilty, there was almost no butter or oil (depending on how you cooked your veggies) in the first place. Just don’t go all Paula Deen on it either.
It was a hit here and I hope it will be at hit at your house as well. In fact, it went so fast from our table that I barely had time to get a picture before the demolition began. C’est la vie! Let me know if you try it!