It seems like yesterday that I was admiring the first vibrantly colorful zucchini blossoms at my local Farmers Market.
And now, almost at the end of summer, I found myself lucky enough to come back from a Farmers Market run with a dozen of still vibrantly colorful, fresh, sweet and organically grown blossoms.
At that same run, I found that Cresta Di Gallo, an edible chrysanthemum green, had made a come back at the same stall where I got the Squash Blossoms. This stall, La Tercera, is a delight of delicious and unusual Italian varietal offerings.
Staying in line with the Italian theme, I decided to make a simple late summer risotto, light, uncomplicated, and comforting for those end of summer evenings where the sun starts going down way too early already.
I started by sautéing 1 couple tbsp diced onions and a small garlic clove (left whole to remove it after cooking) in a little olive and vegetal oil - some Italians will actually find it sacrilege to mix onions and garlic in the same dish: please forgive if you are in that camp! I then added 1 & 1/2 cup arborio rice and sautéed it also until translucent, and started adding hot water, little by little, until the rice was on the verge of being cooked al-dente. At that point, I added 1/4 cup finely chopped cresta di gallo, and 10 squash blossoms chopped into small slices. I included the stems which were incredibly sweet and flavorful. I adjusted the seasoning one last time and cooked a few more minutes until the rice was ready. Once the dish was served, I sprinkled it with some lightly sautéed pine nuts.
Love how this risotto turned out: light and fresh, with only a few ingredients which could then be fully appreciated. And, what's more, it was kid approved! (always worth trying things :))
By the way:
- The risotto can be finished with a drizzle of olive oil, some cream or butter to your liking, and some cheese - pecorino, parmesan or other italian hard cheese to your taste - if you are so inclined.
- I specifically omitted spices and flavorings but a little vanilla could add a nice subtle touch to this dish too.
- Cresta di Gallo has (to me at least) a taste reminiscent of chervil so if you do not find it, you can use that easier to locate herb as a replacement.
- I used himalyan salt for the seasoning. Other specialty salt, smoked or maldon salt, will add a nice touch also.
- The base recipe is naturally gluten-free, dairy-free and low-FODMAP, and will keep vegan, vegetarian, MeatlessMonday and healthy eaters happy too.