Tuesday, August 2, 2011

Endless Summer Rice

To me, this dish tastes fresh, summery & bright. It's one of my favorite midsummer staples, as I can pick up the ingredients at a farmers market or a Supermarket, just as easily. If you truly despise anchovies, they can be substituted out for salt to taste, but honestly, give them a try. Their bright tang adds a lot without being noticeable let alone overwhelming. 
2 Cups Brown Rice
1 Medium Sweet Onion, chopped
3 Anchovies
1 Large Yellow Squash, chopped
Cracked Pepper
Pinch Sugar
1/2 bunch Fresh Tarragon leaves
2 Pounds Cherry Tomatoes
2 Cups Water or Broth*
1 Small Can Tomato Paste
1 tsp Dill
1/2 tsp Celery Seeds
1/2 tsp Onion Powder

In a large saucepan, bring 4 cups of water, a tablespoon of olive oil and a dash of salt to boil. Add the 2 cups of brown rice and cook until fluffy.
In the meantime, drain the oil from the anchovies into a large skillet or wok. Add the pinch of sugar and heat on medium. Once the oil is hot, add the onion and stir, allowing them to caramelise. When the onion has browned, add in the anchovies and pepper to taste, stirring until the anchovies dissolve.  Add in the yellow squash & cook until just barely done.  (Because not only are crispy veggies more yum and better for you, carry over cooking will soften them a bit more as well.)  Scoop the veggies into a serving bowl (or, like me, Tupperware to keep for laters) and mix in the cherry tomatoes.  Do not cook the tomatoes.  Trust me. 
In the pan, pour the water or broth and bring to a boil.  Add the tomato paste, dill, celery seed, and onion powder and boil for 5-10 minutes or until the sauce begins to thicken-stir often and scrape bottom & sides frequently.   The sauce should develop body, but still be thinner than typical spaghetti sauce.  Think a really good tomato soup texture. 
Toss veggies, rice and sauce all together.  Serve.  Give the recipe away when your guests demand it. 

*The people who live with me make fun, but I have developed a habit of keeping a hold of my pasta cooking water. Already enriched with starch from the boiling pasta, it's also already salted and sprinkled with a bit of olive oil. This means it imparts not only an extra kick of flavour, but that it thickens up a bit quicker than plain water. I highly recommend adopting this habit, but if you can't, plain water works almost as well.

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