|Zucchini with Rice, Pine Nuts & Currants|
When I made cod with spinach the other day, I ended up with some leftover currants and toasted pine nuts. Not wanting to be wasteful, I decided to add them to another Lent-friendly recipe, Zucchini with Rice, just to jazz it up a bit. They’re optional ingredients in this, so if you don’t have them or want to use them, that’s OK. This dish will still be wonderful.
Zucchini with Rice
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 onion, chopped
1 clove garlic, minced
2 medium zucchini, washed and scrubbed, unpeeled, cut into quarters length-wise, and cut into ½ inch pieces
1/2 teaspoon dried oregano
½ tsp. Aleppo red pepper, or a dash of cayenne pepper
salt and pepper to taste
2 cups water
1 cup uncooked long-grain white rice
2 Tbsp. currants, optional
2 Tbsp. toasted pine nuts, optional
1. In a 4 quart saucepan over medium heat, heat the olive oil. Add onions and garlic; sautė for about 2 minutes. Stir in zucchini, and sautė 5 minutes, or until tender. Stir in oregano, Aleppo pepper, salt, and pepper. Continue cooking for about 2 more minutes, making sure seasonings coat the vegetables.
2. Add the water to the vegetable mixture; stir in rice. Bring to a boil, then reduce heat, cover, and simmer 20 minutes, until the rice is tender.
3. Remove pot from heat. Remove pot cover and place a clean towel over the rice – zucchini mixture. Place cover back on pot. Allow rice to rest for 5 minutes. This will help absorb any additional moisture. Gently toss rice-zucchini with a fork. Sprinkle in currants and pine nuts, if using.
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My mom makes a variation of this (no rice, though, just zucchini), to which I've made my variation. It's very simple:
2-3 tbsps olive oil
4 zucchinis or Mexican squash
1/2 medium onion, sliced into fine crescents or roughly chopped
1 egg (optional)
1/4 cup chopped walnuts (quantity may be adjusted)
Chopped parsley for garnish (you may also used chopped fresh basil or dill)
A dash of red Aleppo pepper
Salt & pepper
Slice off the stem and "tail" of the zucchini. Quarter them lengthwise, then slice into thin quarter-rounds (about 1/8 or 1/16 inch thick).
Heat the oil in a saucepan or small pot. Add the onion and fry until translucent. Add the walnut and stir for a minute or two, until the walnut is toasted. Add the zucchini, salt and pepper. Stir on medium heat until the zucchini has given out its water.
Beat the egg and add to the contents of the saucepan. Stir until the egg is cooked through.
Take out of the sauce pan, place in a deep serving dish and sprinkle with the chopped parsley, basil, or dill. Sprinkle the Aleppo pepper for color and taste. Serve with bread (lavash, pita, or matnakash is preferable).
*** Variation ***
You can do this same dish, replacing the zucchini by spinach (it's a sin, I know, but I like to use chopped frozen spinach) or any other kind of squash. I have never tried it, but you can probably also use eggplant or any other root vegetable that is not too sweet (I would not recommend this with carrots, for example).
Sounds delicious, Ara. We make a zucchini and egg recipe without walnuts. (Doug is allergic, poor guy.) We posted it a while ago but here's the link in case anyone is interested: