Thursday, February 2, 2012

Marrow Matters - Garden Risotto

It looks as if Thursdays will be my Marrow Matters days. I hope to post a few more ELASTIC TIPS on some of the days in between but, for now, this is all that I can muster being so busy with processing the fruit of our harvests. 
I do not presume to pretend that I am a master chef and this so-called risotto is probably not at all like a real risotto, but delicious and, in Elastic Mom style, quick and easy. Best of all, it only uses one pan.


Sizzle some butter or oil in a large pan. Slice up and fry one onion, some marrows, a green pepper and a few slices of bacon. My bacon was shaved off a hunk of frozen bacon generously given to us by my father-in-law. I used a rather large yellow summer squash.

Once the onions start to soften, add some frozen beans, carrots and sweetcorn to the pan, or use vegetables that you have on hand. Fry them until defrosted.

The beans were my own, blanched and frozen and needing clearing from the freezer. I have memories of my long-suffering children helping me to slice crates of sweetcorn off the cob with my electric carving knife before freezing them last Summer. Now that the new harvest is coming, it's time to clear the last of them from the freezer too.

Shake up the remains of an almost empty jar of apricot jam with a half jar of hot water and pour it in. You could shake up any tasty almost empty jar - mayonnaise, jam, chutney or mustard. No suitable jars? Then just add a dollop of your favourite flavor and some water, or just use stock. 

All the while gently stir the mixture in the pan. Add some fresh cream, about half a cup. Liquid quantities are not important, as you will adjust them as you go.  

Sprinkle some risotto rice over the pan. My mother-in-law taught me to use a handful of rice per person and one extra for the pan. 

Keep stirring the risotto as it simmers. You will soon see if you need to add more liquid for the rice to absorb.

If it looks a little dry still, slosh in some wine and chicken or vegetable stock.  

Season with salt and pepper and add your favourite herbs or spices. I used some smoked paprika because its smoky flavor is great with bacon.

Keep simmering, stirring, and adjusting the liquid if you need to, until the rice is cooked through, but still with a bit of a bite to it. 

Tuck in to a tasty family meal. 

This recipe is truly ELASTIC and you can adjust it to whatever you are clearing from your garden. pantry, fridge or freezer. Avoid unwanted science experiments in your fridge. Plan your meals according to what needs using the most.
I always try to choose flavours that compliment each other. Apricot jam and bacon sing together. 

Be creative with flavor families. Use your basic garden vegetables, making sure to throw in heaps of marrows, but vary the spices, herbs and meat according to what you have and need to use.... 

Go THAI with coconut milk, green curry, asian greens and strips of chicken,
or ITALIAN with garlic, parmesan, tomato, peppers, oregano and bits of salami.
How about FRENCH with brinjal, peppers, tomato, mixed herbs, bacon and garlic.
For a VEGETARIAN version use cooked chickpeas or beans for protein. 
Mmm, I am thinking lentils and CURRY spices, but then that would need a different rice, basmati maybe....

The variations are as abundant as your imagination. In fact, the flexibility of this recipe makes it perfect to add to my list of BACK TO BASICS recipes. 


  1. mmm making me hungry for your good farm food Cath!

  2. Looks great and what a wonderful way to use what you have from the garden and the freezer!

  3. Thanks Wendy and Kate. As long as the marrows keep coming, the recipes will follow. I have to keep them varied to avoid the inevitable marrow boredom.

  4. Dear Cath,

    This is a beautiful recipe and true to form I love its name: Garden Risotto! So pretty.

    I am slightly obssessed with risotto and any new recipe is gratefully taken on. With regards to the wine; I tend to add my slosh as the first liquid to be absorbed by the rice so that its taste is absorbed readily by the rice.

    Have a lovely week.