Here’s a recipe I worked on and wrote up a few months ago (July, gulp!). I’ve been meaning to post it for a while now but for some reason, I put it on the back burner. I’m currently working on a bunch of seasonal recipes for October which reminded me that summer squash is nearly out of season! Yikes. If this is something you’d like to try, get your hands on some summer squash before it’s all gone. If it is, stuffed eggplant sounds lovely.
Around the time of making this, I was informed that risotto is only risotto if you use Arborio or “risotto” rice. Okay, I get it. It’s cool. But “Black Rice Risotto-like Stuffed Zucchini Squash” doesn’t really roll off the tongue, you know? And besides, the idea is to have a “creamy” rice stuffing and that’s what this recipe is all about. Risotto is a bit time consuming, although well worth the wait. If you’ve never made it before, be sure to read the instructions carefully before getting started.
I made this for my mother and she couldn’t stop raving about it. Aww, mothers. It’s just as savory as it is presentational. It’s also a good way to use up some of that leftover cashew cream you have lying around from some other recipe. What I love most about this recipe though is how easily the squash is to cut through and how well the seasoned rice and natural flavor of the squash go together.
2 small zucchini squash, cut in half lengthwise and de-seeded
5 tbsp extra virgin olive oil, divided
3 and 3/4 cup low sodium vegetable stock, divided
1/2 medium yellow onion, chopped, divided
2 cloves garlic, chopped, divided
4 crimini mushrooms, sliced
1/4 cup sun-dried tomatoes, chopped
1/4 cup parsley, chopped
1 tbsp fresh rosemary, chopped
1 tsp fresh thyme leaves
1 tbsp Earth Balance butter
1 cup Forbidden rice (black rice)
1/2 cup dry white wine (see Barnivore for vegan wine listing)
2 tbsp cashew cream (optional)
juice of 1/2 a lemon
salt and pepper, to taste
Preheat the oven to 450 F.
Prepare the zucchini squash by cutting it in half lengthwise and then removing the flesh inside to make a hollow space for the risotto. Do this carefully so that you don’t go through the squash. I used a paring knife to cut along the margins of the squash, leaving about a 1/4 inch of flesh around the edges. Then with a teaspoon measure (or a melon baller) scoop out the insides. Pour 1/2 cup of the vegetable broth in an 11 inch by 7 inch baking dish — anything just small enough to fit the four squash pieces will do. Place the squash, hollow side up, in the dish. Brush the hollow spaces and around the edges of the squash with 2 tablespoons of the olive oil. Set aside.
Heat 1 tablespoon of the olive oil in a non-stick pan over medium low heat. Add half the onion and 1 clove of garlic. Saute for about 3 to 5 minutes, until translucent. Add the mushrooms, sun-dried tomatoes, herbs and butter and cook for another 3 to 5 minutes, until the mushrooms are lightly browned. Add 2 tablespoons of vegetable stock and cook until absorbed. Remove from heat and set aside.
In a non-stick pan with steep sides, heat 2 tablespoons of olive oil on medium-high heat. Add the onions and cook for 3 minutes. Add the garlic and cook for 1 minute. Next, add the rice and, stirring constantly, coat it with the oil, onions, and garlic for 2 minutes. Add the wine to deglaze the pan and stir constantly until it has completely reduced. Reduce the heat to medium-low and add the vegetable stock, 1/2 cup at a time, stirring constantly. Season with salt and pepper between each addition, tasting as you go and being careful not to over-salt it. This should take about 30 minutes.
Half way through making the risotto, put the zucchini squash in the oven and bake for 15 to 20 minutes.
Once you’ve added all the vegetable stock to the risotto and cooked it off, then add the cashew cream and another splash of wine, if desired, and continue to stir constantly until the wine has reduced and the rice is creamy. Add the mushroom mixture and lemon juice and incorporate well. Remove from heat.
When the zucchini and risotto are done (which should be at the same time), plate the zucchini and fill the hollow spaces with the risotto. Garnish with parsley, if desired, and serve immediately.