Ah, summer farmers markets. I can’t think of a better way to spend a Saturday morning, especially when the weather’s nice and the stands are overflowing with such great stuff. And even if it’s a little too sticky outside to be comfortable, the bounty is usually worth it. No, it’s always worth it. I’d walk a hot mile for a good tomato.
If there’s anything better than a Saturday morning walk to the market, it’s a Saturday afternoon lunch made with the things you brought home. As much as I try to avoid the stove in the super hot months, a good risotto can be a great vessel for all that fresh produce. You start with a tried-and-true recipe that you already love, and then just mix in whatever great veggies you have on hand. So it’s beautiful and seasonal and new, but it’s still wonderfully dependable.
This summer market risotto is made with a few things Beany chose at the market a couple Saturdays back: green, yellow and purple green beans; one yellow squash; and one small zucchini. (On a side note, did you know the purple beans turn green when they’re boiled? Craziness!) Last Saturday we made a similar risotto, with two purple sweet peppers instead of the beans and half a spring onion instead of shallots. Beany approved of both versions pretty equally. So did Bear, who might have cleaned his bowl even faster than the grown-ups.
- 4 ½ cups low-sodium chicken stock
- 3 tablespoons olive oil
- 2 medium shallots, chopped
- 2 cups Arborio rice
- ½ cup dry white wine
- 1 teaspoon kosher salt, plus more to taste
- 2 tablespoons unsalted butter
- ¾ cup grated Parmesan cheese
- freshly ground black pepper
- 1 clove garlic, minced
- 1 small zucchini, sliced into thin half moons
- 1 small summer squash, sliced into thin half moons
- ½ to 1 pound fresh green beans (or yellow! Or purple!), ends removed and snapped in half
- Heat 2 tablespoons of olive oil in a large pot over medium heat (I like to use a cast-iron pot for this because it cooks so nicely and evenly). Add the shallots, and cook for about 5 minutes, stirring often, until they are translucent.
- Add the rice and continue to cook, stirring constantly, for 4 minutes. Add the white wine and salt and continue to cook, stirring constantly, until the wine is totally absorbed. Add 1 cup of the chicken stock and continue to cook, stirring constantly, for about 7 minutes, until the chicken stock is absorbed. Add another cup of chicken stock and continue to cook, stirring constantly. When that chicken stock is almost completely absorbed, add the remaining 2 ½ cups of stock and continue to cook, stirring gently, until that stock is absorbed, at least another 10 to 15 minutes.
- In the meantime, blanch your beans. Bring a pot of water to a boil, and fill a separate large bowl with ice water. Carefully drop your beans into the boiling water, and boil them for about 3 to 4 minutes, until their color gets super vibrant. Remove the beans from the boiling water, and plunge them into the ice water to cool them immediately. Drain the ice water, and set the beans aside.
- Also in the meantime, while you’re adding the last 2 ½ cups of stock to the risotto, heat the remaining tablespoon of olive oil in a medium sauté pan over medium-high heat. Add the garlic, and sauté for about 30 seconds, just until it begins to look golden. Then add the zucchini and squash, a pinch of salt and a bit of black pepper, and cook until the zucchini and squash begin to soften, about 3 minutes. Then add the cooled (and drained!) beans to the pan with the squash and zucchini. Toss it all together, and continue sautéing until the squash and zucchini are fully cooked and just start browning on the edges, at least another 3 minutes. Remove from the heat, and set them aside.
- Once the last 2 ½ cups of chicken stock are completely absorbed, stir in the butter and Parmesan. Then add the zucchini, squash and green beans, and mix until incorporated.