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Thursday, August 16, 2012

Ratatouille Risotto

Yes, another risotto recipe, I know. But there is a method behind my madness. I'm hoping over the next couple of months to start putting together a risotto cookbook based on my favorite seasonal recipes. Currently, this one will make 6 risotto recipes on my blog - I'd like to have 12 in total. With that said, gear up for a slew of risotto recipes over the next few months. I promise to make them unique, though, so you won't get bored.

This risotto was birthed from my desire to whip up some ratatouille tonight. The farm I get my CSA from - Little Ridge Farm - grew eggplant for the first time this year, much to my excitement. I love eggplant, unexpectedly so. I grabbed four, hoping to put some in the freezer for winter, which is when I'm really craving it, all breaded and cheesy with red sauce....mmmm....eggplant Parmesan. However, I couldn't pass up the opportunity to cook up a nice batch of ratatouille since I have a fridge full of zucchini and summer squash. I started off making my own stock, and the rest fell into place.

Ratatouille Risotto
(serves 4)

For the risotto:
1 1/2 C arborio rice
4-6 C stock
1/2 C white wine
1/2 C reserved zucchini liquid (see instructions below)
1/3 C chopped onion
2 T chopped garlic
1/4 C chopped sundried tomato's
2 C shredded zucchini (salt and let sit for 30 minutes, then squeeze out liquid, reserving)
2 T butter
1 T oil
1/4 C Gruyere cheese
1/8 C nutritional yeast (or Parmesan cheese)
1 T Italian seasoning
salt & pepper

For the ratatouille:
2 C eggplant, salted & sliced (*see note below)
2 C summer squash*
1 C onion*
4 T garlic, sliced
1/2 C tomato, sliced
1/3 C nutritional yeast (or Parmesan cheese)
1 C stock
1 T butter
4 T coconut oil
1 T Italian seasoning
salt & pepper

*Eggplant - cut in half lengthwise and sprinkle flesh with salt and place in a bowl or plate for 30 minutes, then pat dry. To cut eggplant and summer squash - slice in half lengthwise and then slice those halves in half lengthwise again. Slice into 1/2" thick pieces.

*Onion - peel and cut in half lengthwise then slice into large chunks.

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees and grease a baking dish. Meanwhile, melt 2 T coconut oil in large skillet over medium heat and toss in eggplant. Cook about 7 minutes, stirring often, until it starts to brown a bit. Remove and set aside. In same pan, toss in another tablespoon of coconut oil and add in the summer squash, cook until it starts brown, about 5 minutes, then set aside. In same skillet, add remaining tablespoon of coconut oil and toss in onion and garlic, saute for about 5 minutes and set aside. Now time to construct ratatouille. In greased baking dish put down the eggplant in a solid layer, then the onions and garlic, then the summer squash. Place tomato slices over the top and pour stock over it all, then sprinkle nutritional yeast, Italian seasoning, salt and pepper over it all and cover with tinfoil. Bake for 20 minutes covered, then up the temperature to 400 and remove tinfoil for 10 minutes. Remove from oven and set aside.

Once ratatouille is in the oven, it's time to start the risotto. In large skillet melt 1 T butter over medium heat and toss in onions and garlic, cooking for 5 minutes, until soft. Add in risotto rice and stir thoroughly, coating with onion mixture. Cook for 2 minutes, then toss in sundried tomatoes and stir thoroughly. Add in wine and reserved zucchini juice and start stirring, constantly throughout the rest of this process. As the liquid is absorbed, add in a large ladle amount, stir and repeat. During this process, in a separate skillet add 1 T oil over medium high heat and add in zucchini. Cook for 10 minutes and add to the risotto with last ladle of liquid. Stir in last tablespoon of butter, Gruyere cheese, nutritional yeast, salt, pepper and Italian seasoning.

To serve - place a large scoop of ratatouille on plate, leaving a hole in the middle and fill with risotto. Sprinkle with a bit of nutritional yeast and any Gruyere cheese you have left over. Serve with a side of hearty peasant bread. Bon Appetit!

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