Lemony Summer Squash Risotto

Aunt Suzy says . . .

There has been an abundance of beautiful summer squash at our farmer’s markets and produce stands lately, so when this recipe from the NY Times “recipes for health” showed up in my Facebook feed recently, I knew I had to make it. I’ve made quite a few of  Martha Shulman’s recipes from that column over the years and they are always reliable and delicious. (You’ll also see I made a couple of adaptations to the recipe cuz that’s how we roll here!)

If you know us at S&SK, you know how much we love lemon. You can see all kinds of “lemony” recipes, both sweet and savory, on our blog.  I predict this one will be a favorite up here in the Minnesota branch of our cooking team.  If you love risotto and love summery, lemony dishes, this one is a winner!

Ingredients

7 to 8 cups chicken (or vegetable stock for vegetarian)

3 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil

1/2 cup onion, diced

1 pound summer squash, diced

1 1/2 cups arborio rice

1 to 2 garlic cloves, minced

1/2 cup dry white wine

Zest of one small lemon

Juice of 1/2-1 lemon, to taste

2 tablespoons fresh thyme leaves, preferably lemon thyme

2 tablespoons finely chopped flat-leaf parsley for garnish

1/2 cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese

Instructions

Heat the stock in a pan and keep just below a simmer for use in the risotto.

In a medium saute pan, heat the olive oil till it shimmers over medium heat and then add the onion and saute till translucent. Add the summer squash and a little salt. Turn up the heat and saute a further 5 min until the squash is just starting to get soft. Add in the rice and garlic and give a few stirs to coat with the olive oil and create the signature nuttiness of the rice in this dish. Add the wine and stir till absorbed.

Turn down the heat and add about 1/2 cup of the hot stock. Keep at a low simmer, and stir until the stock is absorbed by the rice. Repeat by adding 1/2 cup stock at a time, stirring till absorbed until the rice is just about cooked through, about 25 minutes total. Add some more stock, the lemon zest and juice, the thyme and the Parmesan. Stir to blend. The dish should be creamy, not too dry and not too wet and the rice should be al dente. Best served in bowls with a refreshing glass of lemony Pinot Grigio.

Notes on ingredients: Two medium squash added up to one pound for me with apologies for not measuring the amount of diced squash before adding it to the pan. I used one yellow squash and one striped zucchini. I used Pinot Grigio for the white wine, but a Sauvignon Blanc would work well too. Avoid anything with oak in it like a California Chardonnay. Use the best quality Parmesan that you can find for the flavor and creaminess that really makes this dish. We recommend grating it yourself vs. buying it already grated.

Zucchini and Tomato Frittata

Margaux says…

I love making frittatas for dinner in the summer.  It’s a great way to use up random produce sitting in the fridge, it’s quick and easy, and it is best served at room temperature, which is great in summer.  I got the idea for this one from Skinnytaste.com, except this isn’t the skinny version.

Zucchini and Tomato Frittata

We don’t have tons of tomatoes and zucchinis like some people, because we unfortunately don’t have a garden.  But I know that when you do grow those things, they are plentiful, so this is a great way to use it up.  And the Asiago adds so much delicious flavor to this dish!

Zucchini and Tomato Frittata

1 tbsp olive oil

1/2 large onion, diced

2 medium zucchinis, cut into matchsticks

8 large eggs

3/4 cup shredded Asiago cheese

1/4 cup chopped basil

salt and pepper

2 small garden tomatoes, sliced thinly

Preheat oven to 400 degrees.

Whisk together eggs with 1/2 tsp salt, 1/4 tsp freshly ground pepper and Asiago cheese.  Set aside.

Heat olive oil in a 10″ non-stick pan or cast iron skillet over medium heat.  Add onion, and saute until soft, about 5 minutes.  Add zucchini and turn up heat to medium-high.  Saute until zucchini is soft, about 2 more minutes.  Add egg mixture and let sit for a minute, then tilt the pan and loosen the edges with a spatula, letting uncooked egg slide underneath.  Cook until the underside is golden but the top is still liquid, about 5 minutes.  Add the tomatoes to the top of the frittata, sprinkle a little salt on them, and transfer to a center rack of the preheated oven.  Bake until the top is set, about 5 minutes.  If the top doesn’t set in that amount of time, turn the broiler on high, move the rack to the top position, and broil until the top sets, about 1-2 minutes.  Don’t overcook!  Remove pan from oven and let cool to warm.  Remove frittata from pan onto a large serving plate, or cut right in the pan and serve.  I like to serve it at room temperature, but it’s also good warm.

Steak and Zucchini Tostadas - Sweet & Savory Kitchens

Margaux says…

I bought this recipe magazine on a whim 4 years ago while waiting in line at the supermarket, and it quickly became my most-used recipe book in the summer and fall. Every recipe I have made (and I have used almost all of them) have been fantastic. And they are super quick and easy. So, since I use this blog as my virtual recipe box and menu planner (along with Pinterest, of course), I thought I would post some of my favorites from the magazine, just in case someday it catches on fire from being too close to a burner, or accidentally gets dropped in the dishwater. Plus, you should try out these recipes, too! They’re great for a quick, easy and flavorful weeknight meal.
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I’m starting with the steak and zucchini tostadas. I don’t make these as often because we really don’t eat steak all that much (small business owner budget), but I have made this substituting lentil taco filling for the steak and it is also pretty good. My favorite lentil taco filling recipe is sort of a mash-up of my own taco seasoning and the lentil taco recipe from Budget Bytes.  Actually, I keep the lentil taco filling on hand in the freezer for whenever we have tacos, so I have it ready for my vegetarian son on taco nights.  But I digress….try these tostadas on your next taco night, you won’t be sorry.  Zucchini and steak is a great combo!

Steak and Zucchini Tostadas

adapted from America’s Test Kitchen 30-Minute Suppers, Fall 2010 edition

**To make this even quicker, you can buy already made tostada shells at the grocery store if your store carries them.  Here in Chicago there are a couple of different local brands that make them, and you can find them in the “Mexican” aisle.

12 (6-inch) corn tortillas

4 tbsp vegetable or canola oil

salt and pepper

1 small flank steak (or about 1 lb strip steak…I used that once because it’s what I had on hand)

2 medium zucchini, halved lengthwise and sliced thin

1/2 cup crumbled feta cheese

1/2 cup lightly packed fresh cilantro leaves

1 lime, cut into wedges, for serving

1 recipe pico de gallo, for serving (recipe follows)

1. Adjust oven racks to lower-middle and upper middle positions and heat oven to 450 degrees.  Brush both sides of tortillas with 2 tablespoons oil and season with salt and pepper.  Lay tortillas in single layer on 2 baking sheets.  Bake until golden brown and crisp, rotating baking sheets and flipping tortillas halfway through, about 10 minutes.

2. Meanwhile, pat beef dry with paper towels and season with salt and pepper.  Heat additional 1 tablespoon oil in large skillet over medium high heat until just smoking.  Cook beef until well browned and it registers 125 degrees (for medium-rare), 4 to 6 minutes per side.  Transfer to cutting board and tent with foil.

3. Add remaining oil and zucchini to skillet and cook until tender, about 4 minutes.

4. Cut beef in half lengthwise, then very thinly slice beef crosswise against grain.  Divide beef and zucchini equally among tostadas.  Top with feta and cilantro.  Serve with lime wedges and pico de gallo.

Pico de Gallo

3 cored, seeded and diced plum tomatoes

1/2 red onion, finely chopped

3 garlic cloves, minced

2 jalepenos, seeded and minced (leave more of the seeds for more heat)

juice from 2 limes

1/4 cup chopped cilantro

Combine all ingredients in a small bowl.  Season with salt and pepper.

 

Kristi’s Ratatouille

October 16, 2011

Aunt Suzy says . . .

I love stocking my freezer this time of year with goodies made from the abundant produce available.  One of my favorites is ratatouille.  It freezes well and there’s nothing like thawing and heating up a batch in the dead of winter to get a hit of late summer goodness!  I’ve made ratatouille for this purpose for many years, but I wasn’t ever 100% satisfied with the results.  While the flavor was always delicious, the end product was mushier than I like.  A few years ago I was talking with friend Kristi Mattson about making ratatouille – she has a big garden and was also making some for the freezer.  She shared her method of roasting some of the vegetables before putting them in the pot to cook the ratatouille.  This was the solution to getting both outstanding flavor and texture.  The ingredients are the same, but this method makes a big difference!  In addition to serving this as a side dish to grilled salmon or roast/grilled chicken, we love tossing it with pasta with a generous sprinkling of parmesan cheese!

Ingredients

Olive oil for tossing with each vegetable
5 medium bell peppers, mixed colors, cut in 1-inch squares (I used 2 red, one orange and 2 green)
6-7 small-medium zucchini and/or yellow squash cut in 1-inch cubes
7-8 small-medium eggplants, cut in 1-inch cubes
1/4-1/3 cup olive oil, for sauteing
5 medium onions, cut in 1-inch chunks (I like a mix of red and yellow)
6-10 garlic cloves, minced (depending on size)
20-ish plum tomatoes, peeled and chopped (totaling 4-5 cups after chopping)
1/3-1/2 cup fresh oregano, chopped (I particularly like Greek oregano in this recipe)
2 tbsp fresh lemon thyme
Fresh basil and/or parsley, chopped,  for serving
Salt  and Pepper to taste

Instructions

Preheat oven to 425 degrees.  You will roast the bell peppers, zucchini/yellow squash and eggplant.  First, toss each vegetable lightly with olive oil and turn into a foil-lined jelly-roll or large roasting pan.  Roast  for about 12-17 min, stirring half-way through.  The vegetables will be done when they are just starting to show a few browned spots.  (I found that I needed 2 pans for the eggplant and 1 pan each for the peppers and zucchini with the above quantities.)  Turn onto a large platter or oblong glass baking dish. Set aside and cool.

In large stockpot or dutch oven, heat the olive oil and sauté the onion until beginning to brown, about 10 or so min on med-high heat.   Add the garlic, oregano and thyme and sauté until fragrant, about a  minute.   Add the roasted peppers, zucchini, eggplant, and the tomatoes and their juices.  Stir just to combine.

Bring all to a bubble, then turn down heat and simmer, covered, for 15 minutes.  Take the lid off the pan, turn up heat slightly and simmer, uncovered, for an additional 30-45 minutes, until the liquid reduces.  During this time, check every 10 minutes to make sure the bottom layer is not burning.  Stir a little, but don’t over-stir in order to preserve the shape of each vegetable.  Add salt and pepper to taste.

Right before serving, stir in the basil and parsley.   If freezing, omit the basil and parsley step and put in containers and place in the freezer.

When using later after thawing, stir in a gremolata of the following, right before serving.

2 tablespoons finely minced fresh basil and/or parsley, 1 tablespoon grated lemon zest, 1-2 finely minced cloves of garlic. Adjust amounts to how much ratatouille you have.  This can be used even when not freezing – it brightens the flavor but is especially fabulous when using frozen/thawed ratatouille.

COOK’S NOTES:  This method is a 3-4 hour project, but is definitely worth the time.  The quantities given made a little under 4 quarts finished product.  This is a recipe where you can definitely adjust the quantities to your taste or need for amounts.

Zucchini Carpaccio

August 10, 2010

Aunt Suzy says

This recipe is great for this season for two reasons.  First, this time of year provides an (over)abundance of zucchini.  Secondly, it’s a refreshing no-cook salad for these dog days of August and only takes about 15-20 minutes to prepare if you use a mandoline.  We originally saw this recipe  in (where else?) Food & Wine way back in 2002.  It was a regular for many summers, but we had forgotten about it the last couple of summers.  It will be back in rotation as long as it’s hot out and we have zukes!  Thanks to my brother, John, for the OXO mandoline he gave us a few years back!  It made making this a lot easier than when we didn’t have it, although Randy would say that he was able to make the slices much thinner by hand.  But then that took 10 times longer :-).

1/4 cup EV olive oil

2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice

salt and pepper to taste

1 pound small green and yellow zucchini

2-3 cups baby arugula

1 ounce parmesan cheese, shaved (1 cup)

In a medium bowl, whisk the olive oil and lemon juice together and add salt and pepper to taste.  Set aside.  Slice the zucchini 1/8-inch thick on the diagonal using a mandoline or by hand with a knife.  Toss the zucchini with the dressing to coat and let stand 3 minutes.  Arrange the zucchini in overlapping slices on a serving platter.  Add the arugula to the bowl and toss wtih the dressing that remains in the bowl.  Mound the dressed arugula on the zucchini and then scatter the parmesan over the top and serve.  What could be simpler?!!