As I’ve been browsing through my grandmother Dorothy’s “Kitchen Klips” recipe file, I’ve smiled as I discovered recipes that are very familiar to me. That’s because I sent them to her.
In the mid-1990s, when Grandma was working on her cookbook, “Home Cooking with Dave’s Mom,” she sent out a call to friends and family asking for their favorite recipes that she might consider including. I typed up and printed out several recipes that Rob and I made often (and still do), including two that made it into Grandma’s book: Awesome Orange Chocolate Chip Muffins and Cheddar Cheese Biscuits (note to self: make those soon!).
Among her recipe clips, I’ve found all the recipes that I sent her, including this one: Spanish Rice Pilaf with Zucchini and Tomatoes. Rob and I picked this recipe up at a local cookware shop just after we married, and we’ve made it a zillion times since then.
This is the perfect transitional recipe as we shift from summer to fall: it uses abundant seasonal produce like zucchini, tomatoes and bell pepper, but it’s a hearty, comfort-food kind of dish.
Make this Spanish Rice Pilaf as a side dish for grilled chicken or pork, or as a main course with a light green salad and some crusty bread. Either way, leftovers are just as good.
I’m not sure if Grandma ever cooked this recipe, but I smiled when I recognized it among her collection.
Spanish rice pilaf with Zucchini, Peppers & Tomatoes recipe
makes 6 servings
3 tablespoons olive oil
Pinch of red bell pepper flakes
1 large onion, diced
1 zucchini, diced
2 red bell peppers, diced
3–4 ripe fresh tomatoes, peeled, seeded and diced (or 2 14-ounce cans diced tomatoes, drained)
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 1/2 cups arborio rice
2 1/2 cups chicken or vegetable broth
1/2 cup chopped fresh parsley
Salt and freshly ground pepper to taste
In a large saute pan, warm the olive oil; add the dried pepper and cook until it's fragrant, about 1 minute. Add the chopped onion and saute for 5 minutes; add the garlic and a pinch of salt. Add the peppers and zucchini and cook until they soften. Give the vegetables another pinch of salt and a stir, then cover the pan, reduce the heat and cook until the vegetables are soft and translucent (but not brown), about 15 minutes. Add the tomatoes; bring to a boil. Add the rice and broth. Reduce the heat to low, cover and simmer for about 30 minutes, until the rice is tender and the liquid is absorbed. Add the chopped parsley and simmer 5 minutes more. Season the pilaf well with salt and pepper. Serve hot or at room temperature.