24 June 2007

Greek Style Vegetable Risotto


Greek Style Vegetable Risotto

Risotto is an Italian inspired dish, but this recipe has a little twist. It brings back memories of lazy days basking on the shores of the azure blue Agean Sea. Any day is good for arm chair travelling, so, why not travel to the Greek island of your choice. Dance to the strains of the bazouka and snorkel in the clear waters. It has been a year since my 5 week sojourn to Greece, but I have travelled every day through recipes, friends and photos. Aglaia Kremezi of Keartisinal on the island of Kea would probably enjoy this recipe with her husband Costas. She would incorporate the abundance of arugula (rocket) and zucchini in her extensive gardens.

Photo is taken on an isolated beach on the island of Kea in Greece. That is Kostis and his traditional caique.



**Greek-Style Vegetable Risotto**

6 cups vegetable stock or low-sodium chicken stock
1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil
1 small onion, finely chopped
2 cups arborio rice
1 large zucchini, cut into 1/2-inch dice
4 scallions, thinly sliced crosswise
1/2 cup frozen or fresh peas (thawed)
1 (1/2 lb bunch) arugula (rocket), large stems discarded, leaves coarsely chopped (I use spinach)
kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
freshly grated Parmesan or sharp goat cheese, for serving

In a medium saucepan, bring 5 cups of the stock to simmer. In another medium saucepan, heat 2 T of the olive oil. Add the onion to the oil and cook over moderate heat, stirring occasionally, until translucent, about 3 minutes. Add the rice and cook, stirring for 1 minute. Add 1 cup of the hot stock and cook, stirring, until the stock is absorbed. Continue adding stock 1 cup at a time and stirring occasionally until it is completely absorbed before adding more. Continue cooking until the rice is al dente and the liquid is thickened, about 20 minutes.

Meanwhile, in a large skillet, heat the remaining T of olive oil. Add the zucchini and scallions and cook over moderately high heat until just tender, about 2 minutes. Add the peas and arugula and cook until the arugula is wilted, about 1 minute. Add the remaining 1 cup of the vegetable stock, season with salt and pepper and bring to a simmer. Remove from heat.

Stir in the vegetables and their liquid into the risotto and cook until the rice is creamy, about 1 minute. Season the risotto with salt and pepper. Spoon the risotto into bowls and serve with Parmesan cheese or goat cheese.

Serves 4 - 6

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