I have a new favorite way to cook summer squash, folks! And that's by using it along with greens in a deliciously creamy and cheesy gratin. Check this out...
As you know, my kitchen is overflowing with beautiful summer squash from my Colvin Family Farm CSA shares. It's not a bad problem to have; but it is challenging to think of different ways to use the squash -- especially when you're one of those busy/on-the-go types who needs to be able to make dinner at Rachael Ray speed. I could always default to roasting, boiling, or sauteing it and serving it as a side dish. That's easy and quick to do. But it gets boring. Thankfully I had calm Sunday afternoon this past weekend, and it was the perfect time for me to use the squash a little more creatively and cook up a dish that takes about an hour and a half from prep to plate.
There are essentially three major parts to the squash-chard-gratin-making process:
- Make the summer squash and greens mixture. (The greens are optional. I had a bunch of Swiss chard that needed to be used, so I added them into the dish.)
- Make creamy risotto.
- Mix the squash and greens with the risotto, bind it all with eggs, add in tons of cheese, and bake!
So here are the details of how I did it:
- I diced up four medium-sized yellow squash and one gigantic globe zucchini squash. I also roughly chopped a full bunch of Swiss chard (after removing the stems), and I minced four cloves of garlic.
- I heated up about two tablespoons of extra virgin olive oil in a saute pan, and at the same time I brought a pot of water to a boil.
- I put the minced garlic in the pan and sauteed it for about 30 seconds. Then I added in the diced squash.
- In the pot, I tossed in the chopped chard leaves and let it boil for about two minutes. When the leaves softened, I strained them and added them to the pan with the squash.
- I let the squash and chard cook together for several minutes, then I transferred the mixture to a bowl, and set the bowl aside.
- As the squash and chard cooled, I cooked 1.5 cups of arborio rice with a total of 6 cups of hot chicken broth, which I ladled into the pan of arborio one half cup at a time until it became a creamy risotto (about 30 minutes later).
- In a big mixing bowl, I beat three eggs and combined the risotto and squash and chard. I seasoned it with salt and pepper and grated in about a half cup (maybe more) of parmesan and tossed in a quarter cup of goat cheese crumbles.
- In an oiled 13x9 glass baking dish, I scraped in everything from the mixing bowl. I grated a layer of parmesan all over the top. Then I put the baking dish in a 375 degree oven and baked it until the edges and top became a nice golden brown, which took about 40-45 minutes.
And that's it! It's a dish that works wonderfully on its own or as a hearty side to any main. And it's now one of my new fave squash recipes for the CSA season!