Wednesday, June 25, 2014

Risotto with Scapes, Basil, and Summer Squash

It's really starting to feel like summer now, with the first summer squash harvested from the garden (along with garlic scapes and basil). This is substantial enough to serve as a main course. For an alternate presentation, stir only the Parmesan into the rice and top with the vegetable and nut mixture. This recipe gives directions for making the risotto in a pressure cooker (so easy! and fast!) but you can always do it the old fashioned way instead (adding warm liquid half a cup at a time and stirring until absorbed, until the rice is tender and creamy). Feel free to substitute zucchini for the squash.

Olive oil
1 1/2 cups Arborio rice
3 1/2 cups warm chicken or vegetable stock
1 cup chopped garlic scapes
3 medium summer squash, diced
3/4 cup chopped fresh basil
Salt and pepper to taste
1 cup grated Parmesan
3/4 cup pine nuts, lightly toasted

Heat a little olive oil in the pressure cooker. Add the rice and saute over medium-high heat until translucent. Add the stock and stir well, then cover the cooker, lock it, and bring to pressure. Cook for 7 minutes at high pressure, the do a quick release of the steam. Open the cooker and stir; if there is excess liquid, simmer for a few minutes uncovered.

While the risotto cooks, heat a bit more olive oil in a large skillet. Add the scapes and squash at the same time and saute over medium high heat until tender, about 5 minutes. The scapes should retain a little crunch and the squash should still be just firm enough to be toothsome, not mushy. Add salt and pepper to taste.

Stir the vegetables, Parmesan, and pine nuts into the rice and stir to combine well. Serve hot.

Serves 4-5.

Sunday, June 8, 2014

Asparagus Feta Pizza

Slice the asparagus fairly thin and it will come out of the oven just right - tender but still with a little crunch.

1 14-inch pizza crust
Olive oil
1/2 cup tomato sauce
4-6 ounces asparagus, thinly sliced into rounds or on the diagonal
4 ounces crumbled feta
1/2 tsp dried dill or 1 Tbsp chopped fresh dill
Salt and pepper to taste
2 ounces shredded mozzarella (optional)

Preheat the oven to 450 degrees. Lightly paint the pizza crust with olive oil.

Spread the tomato sauce over the crust, then add the asparagus and feta distributed over the tomato sauce. Sprinkle with dill, then salt and pepper. If desired, top with a scattering of mozzarella.

Bake for 15-18 minutes, until crust is done and cheese begins to brown.

Serves 3-4.

Garlic and Chard Frittata

This is simple and satisfying. Don't be surprised by the large amount of chard that goes into it - it really cooks down. Feel free to substitute spinach. You could also substitute a bunch of green garlic for the mature garlic at this time of year.

Olive oil
1 head garlic, peeled and minced
1 lb bunch of chard, chopped (stems finely chopped)
Salt and pepper to taste
10 eggs, beaten
1/4 cup grated Parmesan

Heat a little olive oil in a large skillet. Add the garlic and saute for 2-3 minutes, then add the chard (you may need to do this in batches). Saute until the chard is tender, another few minutes. Drain off excess liquid, then add salt and pepper to taste.

Use a 10-inch ovenproof skillet to cook the frittata. Either clean out the one you used to cook the vegetables and then oil it, or use a fresh one, coated with olive oil.

Place the chard mixture in the oiled pan, then pour in the egg. Cook over low-medium heat for 10-15 minutes, shaking periodically, until the frittata is mostly set. Turn on the broiler. Sprinkle Parmesan over the top of the frittata, then place it under the broiler for 3-5 minutes, until the top of the egg is set and the cheese is browned.

Serves about 4.