During the summer and into the fall, the Highland Park Farmers’ Market is a great place to stock up on delicious local produce and fantastic breads (which I haven’t found anywhere else around here). The best peach and one of the best tomatoes I’ve ever had made a very nice summer lunch along with the basil that died fast.
A while back, my boyfriend had flown home to Chicago and I stayed behind for a few days for work, so I got to eat all the things he doesn’t like. I made mint iced tea and bought a fabulous ginger cookie at the farmers’ market for dessert. I also got to eat zucchini for the first time in forever. I added it to some risotto which we had made the night before (which short grain brown rice from the Co-op), which also bulked it up enough to last for two more nights- yay!
To make the risotto, I saute a shallot in olive oil. When the shallot is browned, toss in a cup of short grain brown rice and toast it for about a minute, coating it in the shallots and oil. Add two cups of water, chicken broth, or other liquid (?) and stir. As the rice absorbs the liquid, continue adding more liquid and stirring frequently. The rice will become creamy as the liquid combines with starches released from the rice. Continue adding liquid and stirring until the rice is soft enough to chew. It may take anywhere from 30 mins to an hour. If I have an open bottle of white wine, add a splash towards the end of cooking for added flavor. A good handful of romano or parmesan adds nicely to the creaminess.
Pretty much anything goes well in risotto. I personally like cubed, sauteed chicken, asparagus or broccoli, mushrooms, and some kind of edamame, fresh English peas, or snow peas. Saute the veggies before adding to the rice. I have to alter which vegetables use depending on whether my boyfriend is eating with me or not, which is why I added zucchini to the leftovers the next night! This is the texting coversation that ensued:
He really, really hates zucchini. It must be sad going through life hating zucchini…
Just a tip. Don’t put your smoke detector right behind the stove in a poorly ventilated kitchen. That stupid thing will go off every time you even lightly toast a piece of bread. Every. Single. Time. So when searing chicken and veggies, like I do for risotto, you may end up annoying your neighbors so much that you have to move the thing into the adjoining room.
Anyway, here is how the lovely risotto turned out:
It was slightly less creamy as a leftover than the night before, but still delicious. I threw some of the pesky basil on top before it wilted. And always grate some cheese on top!