Lemon risotto with squash

We’re meandering into autumn, but I’ve still been tinkering with summer recipes because our weather doesn’t follow any sort of calendar that I’m familiar with. Mid-September and it’s 105 degrees. No sweaters here. Sigh.

The summer produce is getting dicey though, isn’t it? All of the peaches that I’ve found have been the size of softballs and refuse to ripen. The beauty of this lemon risotto is that you can sneak in some mediocre zucchini and it will still taste awesome. Wine and cheese really help with that, you know?

This recipe comes from The New York Times, and I made it just as written. Well, I did have to skimp on the cheese because (I’m ashamed to admit this) I ran out of Parmesan. How is that possible? I don’t think I’ve ever run out before because it seems to multiply in my refrigerator. As far as I can tell, I’ve used the same block for three years now.

We had this with a green salad and called it a meal, but if you’re really ambitious and want to make more of a main course to go with this, I can recommend this salmon recipe.

7 cups well-seasoned chicken or vegetable stock
2 Tbsp. olive oil
1/2 cup minced onion
1 pound summer squash (mixed varieties), diced
1 1/2 cups arborio rice
2 garlic cloves minced
salt and pepper to taste
1/2 cup dry white wine, like pinot grigio or sauvignon blanc
2 tsp. grated lemon zest
1 to 2 Tbsp. freshly squeezed lemon juice
2 Tbsp. finely chopped flat-leaf parsley
1/2 cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese

Bring your stock to a simmer in a large pot. Heat the olive oil in a large, nonstick skillet and then add the onion. Cook until tender, about five minutes. Add the squash and some salt. Increase the heat and cook another five minutes, stirring often. Add the rice and garlic and stir until the rice begins to crackle. Add the wine and stir until it is absorbed. Reduce the heat to medium and begin adding stock. The stock should just cover the rice. Continue gradually adding stock and stirring frequently (because that rice really wants to stick to your pan). The rice will take about 25 minutes to cook.

When rice is tender, stir in one last ladle-full of stock and then the lemon zest and juice, parsley and Parmesan. You’ll probably need salt and pepper, too. Remove from the heat and serve. This is best served on a blue monkey plate.