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.

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