A Spanish take on risotto.

Starchy, flavorful risotto is a mainstay in our kitchen; not only do we love eating it, we enjoy the preparation, too. I do the chopping, Rob does the cooking; risotto is a case in point for the easy harmony that we have in the kitchen. (And yes, for the record, I do recognize that I’m lucky to have a partner who enjoys cooking along with me.)

It’s possible that our risotto fanaticism stems from a recipe that we stumbled upon many moons ago when, newly married, we were out shopping and walked into a high-end cookware store. (This was before Williams-Sonoma and Sur La Table, mind you.) The shop was having a demonstration of Le Creuset cookware, with samples of a rice dish from Spain. We left the store with an enameled cast-iron skillet that remains one of my prized kitchen possessions … and a recipe for the rice pilaf. My pencil-written recipe card is labeled “Peonais: Catalan Rice Pilaf,” but when I searched Google for the name, I found no such thing. No matter. We’ll just call it delicious.

spanish rice pilaf recipe

3 Tbsp. olive oil
1 large onion, diced
1 good-sized zucchini, diced
2 red bell peppers, diced
3 cloves garlic
1/2 cup chopped parsley
2 14-ounce cans diced tomatoes, drained (note: I used the last of our garden tomatoes, which I had coaxed into ripening, peeled and seeded)
1 1/2 cups Arborio rice
2 1/2 cups chicken broth
pinch of red pepper flakes
salt and pepper

Heat olive oil and red pepper flakes over medium heat; add onion and sauté 5 minutes. Add garlic; reduce heat and simmer until vegetables are soft and translucent, another 10 minutes or so. Add peppers and zucchini, cook until soft. Add parsley and tomatoes; bring to a boil. Add rice and broth. Reduce heat to low, cover and simmer 25 to 30 minutes or until rice is al dente.