Pattypan Squash and Bomba Rice Risotto with Spring Herbs and Chanterelles

Pattypan Squash and Bomba Rice Risotto with Spring Herbs and Chanterelles
Close up of pattypan squash

Pattypan Squash and Bomba Rice Risotto with Spring Herbs and Chanterelles

Patty pan squash are to me, the harbinger of the fast approaching farmers market. They are tiny, delicate and saucer-shaped with scalloped edges and oh yeah, absolutely adorable. Because of their small size, they need to be prepared gently, as overcooking them will ruin their delicate appearance and taste. The flesh is unlike their hardier winter squash relatives, and more akin to a firm zucchini, with gently, bright notes of squash.

Because of their delicate texture and flavour, I sought to feature them in a dish where they would be the star: risotto. I love risotto, not only for its comfort food qualities, but it is a perfect conduit to show off a single simple ingredient, without hiding it.

Close up of pattypan squash
Close up of chanterelle mushrooms
Close up of pattypan squash

When it comes down to it, most associate risotto with a heavier cold season meal. It is filling, imbued with complex and deep flavour and its creamy texture the ultimate in comfort. In this recipe, I use some of the lighter, more summer-facing produce and a bouquet of fresh herbs to help this dish transition the seasons.

Instead of relying on the traditional Arborio rice used in risotto, I opted to use bomba rice, a Spanish grain used primarily in the making of traditional paella. Bomba rice is known for its ability to absorb liquid – nearly one and a half times that of regular rice. And in risotto, when using a flavoursome liquid like stock and wine, the more liquid that is absorbed, the more flavour is being carried in each individual grain. It must be noted that Bomba rice contains less starch than Arborio, so the resulting risotto will not have the same creaminess, but the flavour absorbed, and the texture rendered is a pleasant surprise. Not sure where to source bomba rice? Check out Lola and Miguel, online purveyor of premium Iberian products.

Pattypan Squash and Bomba Rice Risotto with Spring Herbs and Chanterelles

Pattypan Squash and Bomba Rice Risotto with Spring Herbs and Chanterelles

Ingredients

12 pattypan squash, halved or quartered (be sure they are similar sizes)
6-8 chanterelle mushrooms
1 tablespoon of butter
1 tablespoon of olive oil
¼ cup of finely diced white onion
2 cloves of garlic, chopped
½ cup of white wine
1 ½ cups of bomba rice
3 ½ to 4 cups of good quality vegetable stock, warmed
½ cup of grated parmesan (plus more for garnishing)
3 tablespoons of fresh summer savoury leaves
2 tablespoons of fresh basil, torn
1 tablespoon of fresh parsley, chopped
1 tablespoon of fresh dill, chopped
1 tablespoon of fresh chives, chopped
salt and pepper to taste

Method

Set a large bottomed Dutch oven over medium heat

Melt the butter in the pan and add the chanterelles and sauté about 3 minutes, remove from the pan

Next, add the summer squash to the pan and allow to cook, tossing often for about 5 minutes. Remove from the pan and set aside

Add olive oil to the pan and add in the onion and garlic, and sauté until translucent, about 3 minutes

Add in the bomba rice and stir to evenly coat the rice in the onion and oil mixture, and allow to warm through, about a minute

Deglaze the pan with the white wine and begin adding the vegetable stock, a half a cup at a time stirring frequently between additions. After the first half cup is absorbed, and the next half a cup, repeating until the rice is cooked through – about 20-30 minutes. You will want the rice a little looser than you would expect, as the addition of cheese and cooling will make the risotto tighten up

Once the rice is fully cooked add in the mushrooms, squash, cheese, herbs and salt and pepper and combine

Serve garnished with more Parmesan

Pattypan Squash and Bomba Rice Risotto with Spring Herbs and Chanterelles