Even though I've moved on to apples, pumpkin and other fall ingredients, I haven't forgotten about my old friend, Mr. Zucchini. It's so versatile - whether you're baking or preparing dinner for your family, there's something you can toss it in to add extra nutrients, texture or flavor. I made this recipe for the first time last month when I still had a few zucchini lingering in the bottom of my fridge and it was the perfect dinner for one. You simply cook the rice as you usually would, then add the zucchini to the pot to let it steam for a few minutes before stirring in the cheese. It only takes a few more minutes than making plain white rice, but it's so much more flavorful. Personally, I'm not a fan of cooking my rice in chicken broth, but you could use that instead of water if you prefer to add another dimension to the dish. I was surprised to find I actually enjoyed this rice even more at room temperature than I did when it was hot - maybe the flavors had more time to meld, who knows. On the off chance you still have zucchini growing in your garden or can still find a good deal at your market, this is a side dish worth trying. And if not, bookmark it for next summer!
On a completely unrelated note, I am beyond excited that the hockey season starts tonight! I've been waiting for this day all summer. Looking forward to seeing the Bruins raise the banner tonight and get started on what will hopefully be another successful year :)
Cheesy Zucchini Rice
adapted from Pink Parsley (originally from Comfort of Cooking via Real Simple)
1 1/2 cups water
1 cup long-grain white rice
2 tablespoons butter
1 medium zucchini, grated on the large holes of a cheese grater
1 cup shredded sharp cheddar
salt and pepper
Combine the water and rice in a medium saucepan. Stir gently and briefly to incorporate. Bring to a rolling boil then cover and reduce the heat to low. Cook for about 20 minutes, or until most of the liquid has been absorbed.
Turn off the heat, then add the butter and zucchini to the pan. Cover and let stand for 5 minutes. Stir to incorporate, then mix in the cheese and season to taste with salt and pepper.