Admittedly, summer squash is a veg I usually pass over preferring its doppelganger, zucchini, instead. The wifey brought home summer squash, however, and honestly I felt grateful for the change. I don’t have anything against this cheery, yellow vegetable except very unpleasant childhood memories. Growing up, my mother’s summer squash, boiled to death with white onions, was my least favorite dish she prepared. Her stuffed green bell peppers were a close second. We all have dishes from our childhood like these, but as an adult I’ve pushed myself to try ingredients I previously hated over and over again. Palates, like people, evolve, and so I keep tasting.
Turns out, I do not like soft, well done summer squash and green bell peppers, although still my least favorite color bell, must be vine fresh or it’s a no go for me. Through trail and error, I discovered I like my summer squash al dente, with it either quickly grilled, sautéed, or roasted. For this recipe, I decided to just warm it a bit on top of the risotto as it rested. Simply warmed through like this, the squash added a delicious texture to this creamy rice dish. But, if you prefer it softer, then add it to the risotto sooner to increase the cook time, which will soften the squash. I also opted to serve my risotto with poached eggs because I’m all extra like that. Use whatever you have on hand and enjoy this delightful, sunny squash while the season lasts. Winter is coming.
1 summer squash, trimmed and petite diced
1 cup Arborio or Carnaroli rice
2 cups chicken stock
1 tbsp white wine vinegar
1 shallot, minced
1 garlic clove, minced
1 tsp dried herb blend, such as Italian or Provencal
2 tbsp grated Parmesan
1 tsp olive oil
salt and white pepper to taste
Optional garnish: green scallion tops, poached egg, sunflower seeds
In a med stock pot over high flame bring the chicken stock to a boil then reduce flame to low to keep the stock at a simmer.
Meanwhile, in a small Dutch oven over med high flame heat the olive oil until just shimmering. Add in the shallot, dried herbs, salt, white pepper, and garlic and sauté until the shallot is just translucent and the garlic fragrant, 2 – 3 minutes. Deglaze with the white wine vinegar and continue cooking until the vinegar has completely reduced, 2 – 3 minutes more. Stir in the rice and toast for about 3 minutes. Reduce the flame to low.
One ladle at a time, add in the chicken stock stirring the rice occasionally. Once the stock has absorbed, repeat by adding one ladle of stock with occasional stirring. Continue until all the stock has been used or the rice is tender, about 20 minutes. Add more stock for a loser risotto. Once the rice is tender, turn off the flame, stir in the Parmesan, add the diced summer squash to the top of the rice, and cover with a lid for at least 10 minutes. Once the squash is slightly tender, stir to incorporate it with the rice. Taste and adjust seasoning as needed.
Serve the risotto with garnishes of choice.