It’s been an amazing autumn. I can’t remember a time when our heavy frost didn’t occur until so late in October. I had already harvested my basil earlier in the month. But I still had several peppers in the garden when the forecast called for temps to drop to the mid-20s. It was already after dark when I went into my yard to bring in the last of the peppers. There was one bell pepper, a half dozen banana peppers, two habaneros, and three or four jalapenos.
I took the hot peppers, the habaneros and jalapenos, minced them and covered them with olive oil and put them in the refrigerator. A quarter teaspoon of that mixture will add plenty of heat to pasta, rice, or a burger in the coming weeks.
I improvised a risotto recipe for the bell pepper and two of the banana peppers. I also snipped some fresh oregano and parsley, which still is fresh and green despite the freezing night temps. The recipe turned out pretty well. It had a nice, distinct pepper flavor, but it probably could have used more herbs or a more flavorful stock to balance the flavors better. Here it is.
1/4 cup diced onion (or shallot)
1/2 cup diced peppers, any mixture that you have available
2 tbsp. olive oil
3/4 cup Arborio rice
1/2 cup dry white wine
3 cups chicken stock or vegetable broth
1/3 cup minced fresh herbs (oregano, parsley, basil, mint, whatever you have available)
1/3 cup grated parmesan cheese
Salt & pepper to taste
Heat olive oil in sauté pan. Sauté onions and peppers until onions are translucent. Stir in rice and continue to cook until rice is coated with oil and slightly translucent (about one minute). Pour in wine, cook and stir until wine is most absorbed. Add stock 1/2 cup at a time, cooking until liquid is absorbed before adding more stock. Continue until rice is al dente and most of the stock has been added. Adjust seasoning to taste when you add the last of the stock. Remove from heat and stir in herbs and cheese. Cover and let sit for 5 minutes. Transfer rice to serving bowl and garnish with more fresh herbs. Serve as a side dish to chicken or fish.