zucchini risotto

“Can I have the recipe, Mom?”

Apart from that unusual request, AJ had three helpings. He leans more towards the carnivore end of the scale. I’m just slightly to the left of omnivore heading into vegetarian territory. Nope, not vegan. I’m not ready to give up meat or dairy! But to get back to this recipe, it is a good one. What’s not to like? It’s not quick and easy, but short-cuts would compromise the flavor I think. And to me, anything that calls for a broth or stock should include one made from scratch. I made a simple vegetable broth from two leeks, three medium carrots, an onion, bay leaf, a sprig of thyme, and the stems of a bunch of cilantro. I gently boiled the vegetables in 7 cups of water for 40 minutes. The risotto itself took 45 minutes to make. So no, this is not quick and easy, but well worth the effort last Sunday afternoon when I made it instead of indulging in restless snacking. The rice was creamy, the zucchini was crunchy, and the sun dried tomatoes added texture, color, and flavor.

Zucchini Risotto (adapted from allrecipes.com)

Ingredients:

6-7 cups vegetable or chicken stock, preferably home made
1 tablespoon butter
1 medium onion, chopped
2 cups Arborio rice, uncooked
1 medium zucchini, peeled and thinly sliced into rounds
10 sun-dried tomatoes, softened and chopped (if using tomatoes in oil, drain first)
1 teaspoon dried thyme, crushed
6 tablespoons freshly grated Parmesan (or mozzarella) cheese
1 tablespoon chopped fresh basil leaves, or to taste (optional)
Salt to taste
freshly ground black pepper to taste

 Preparation:

  1. Bring vegetable or chicken stock to a boil in a medium stock pot, then reduce heat to a low simmer.
    Melt butter in a large, heavy bottomed stock pot over medium heat. Stir in onions and cook for 2 minutes, or until softened. Add the rice and cook for another 2 minutes, stirring constantly, until lightly toasted.
  2. On medium heat,  ladle in 1 cup of simmering vegetable stock to the rice, stirring continuously. When the liquid is absorbed, add another cupful of stock to the pan. Continue stirring. Repeat using up to 6 cups of stock. Risotto should be “creamy” and slightly sticky, yet still firm in the center, or al dente. If it isn’t tender, add a little of the 7th cup of stock.
  3. When almost finished, stir in the zucchini, sun-dried tomatoes, and thyme, adding stock as needed and stirring continuously. Stir in basil and 3 tablespoons cheese just before serving. Divide risotto among 6 bowls, sprinkle with remaining cheese, and season with (salt) and pepper to taste.

Cook’s Note: If using home-made vegetable broth, the dish might not be salty enough. Taste the rice and add salt to taste.

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white beans with potatoes, kalamata olives, and sun-dried tomatoes

Now this wasn’t hard to make; it just took longer.  Although it isn’t in the Quick and Easy category, it is perfect for a Sunday dinner when I have more time to cook. This recipe was originally called  White Beans and Lemon Potatoes with Olives and Tomatoes in Robin Robertson’s Vegan on the Cheap. It can either be a vegetable side or a main meal with a salad and another vegetable. I recommend roasted asparagus. This recipe doesn’t really need a lot of salt because of the tanginess of the lemon/lime juice and the olives, white beans, and sun-dried tomatoes.

Make 4 servings

White Beans with Potatoes, Kalamata Olives, and Sun-Dried Tomatoes

Ingredients
2 pounds small white or Yukon Gold potatoes, cut into 2-inch pieces
3 garlic cloves, crushed
Olive oil
Salt and black pepper to taste
1×15.5 oz can white beans, drained and rinsed
6-8 oven dried tomatoes cut into 1/4 inch strips (I used sun-dried tomatoes in oil)
1/2 cup chopped fresh parsley or cilantro
1/3 cup kalamata olives, pitted and chopped
juice of 1 lemon or 1/2 lime

Preparation
Preheat oven to 400˚F. Lightly oil a 9×13 inch baking pan. Add the potatoes and garlic, drizzle with a little oil, and season with salt and pepper to taste. Bake until tender, about 40-45 minutes.

Remove the potatoes from the oven. Add the beans, tomatoes, parsley, olives, and lemon or lime juice. Drizzle with a little more olive oil if needed to moisten. Season with salt and pepper to taste. Toss to combine, then return to the oven to heat through, about 10 minutes. Serve hot.

Variations

  • Add sautéed spinach or other cooked vegetable to make a one-dish meal.
  • Substitute ripe black olives for the kalamata olives.
  • Add capers and/or chopped sun-dried tomatoes in olive oil.

it’s humpday so it’s spinach pesto

I found this simple and delicious recipe on domestic diva, MD. I made some changes because AJ is allergic to walnuts but not pecans. I like it spicy so I added the garlic and red pepper flakes. It’s delicious served on top of Trader Joe’s Goat Cheese and Sun-Dried Tomato Ravioli with a salad on the side. It’s perfect for a quick and easy humpday dinner!

Ingredients

3 cups fresh spinach, washed and drained
1/3 cup pecans (originally walnuts)
1/4 cup parmesan cheese, grated
3 cloves garlic, chopped
1/2 -1 teaspoon red pepper flakes, or to taste
1 tablespoon  lemon juice
1/4  cup olive oil, less if desired
Salt and pepper to taste

  1. In a food processor, add the spinach, nuts, parmesan, garlic, pepper flakes, and lemon juice.
  2. Start the food processor and drizzle olive oil into the feed tube until you reach your desired consistency. Salt and pepper to taste.
  3. To store, place in small jars and leave room at the top. Cover with a thin layer of olive oil. This will help your pesto stay green.