Peggy and I were figuring out what to have for dinner and I decided to use the fresh zucchini and summer squash from our garden to create a one dish meal both healthy and very tasty. Part of that idea involved the use of leftovers from other meals, like bacon, crushed Ramen noodles and some of my hot giardiniera condiment. I added onions and tomatoes and garlic as well. The basic carbohydrate, which was mixed with the above ingredients just before serving, was basmatic rice prepared using chicken broth. Given the salt content of the bacon I simply used some black pepper for additional seasoning.
The dish turned out to be excellent! We were both surprised and pleased and the taste, texture and appearance were simply great. And I must admit that I have never heard of any dish similar to this one ... pure serendipity.
You want to make this meal. The hot giardiniera condiment adds just the right amount of "Zing" to the bacon and garlic flavors, and the squash, tomatoes, onions, Ramen noodles and rice are the perfect base to make this a complete and satisfying meal. I knew I had a winner when Peggy ate a large portion and went back for seconds.
Ingredients: (makes three to four servings)
1 seven inch long zucchini squash
1 seven inch long yellow summer squash
2 tbsp. of butter
5 slices of fried dry cured hickory smoked bacon
1/2 cup of chopped sweet onion
4 thinly sliced garlic cloves
1/2 cup of crushed Ramen noodles
1 large ripe tomato, chopped with seeds removed
1/4 cup of hot giardeniera condiment (recipe is in Food Nirvana), or similar substitute (see below)
1/4 cup of water
1/2 tsp. of black pepper
1 pint of chicken broth for cooking the rice
1 cup of uncooked basmatic rice
Fry the bacon until it is fairly crisp in a large skillet, put the bacon on a paper towel to absorb excess grease, then break up the slices into pieces roughly 1/2 inch square. Set the bacon pieces aside.
Pour the the hot bacon grease from the skillet into a cup or waste container, wipe the outside of the skillet to remove any bacon grease, but do not clean the inside of the skillet. Set the skillet aside.
Turn on the oven to 200 degrees F and put a serving casserole and plates or wide bowls into the oven.
Make the rice by heating the chicken broth to boiling in a covered saucepan, then adding and mixing the rice into the broth, then simmering the mixture on very low heat for 12 to 15 minutes, covered. Set the pan aside, covered.
Peel the summer squash, cut off the ends, cut it in half lengthwise, then cut each half again lengthwise. Cut the squash pieces into smaller pieces about 1/2 inch long, cutting crosswise.
Do the same procedure for the zucchini squash except only peel off about half of the skin, leaving the remainder for appearance.
Chop the onion into small pieces.
Add the butter to the large skillet used to fry the bacon and melt it on high heat. Then add the onion pieces and mix well. Then reduce the heat to low.
Cover the skillet and let the onions saute until they are almost translucent, which will take three to four minutes. Then add the bacon pieces, mix well, cover and heat for one minute.
Add the thinly sliced garlic to the skillet, mix well, cover the skillet and cook for two minutes.
Add the black pepper, the hot giardeniera condiment, the tomato pieces and the crushed Ramen noodles to the skillet and mix well. If you do not have any hot giardeniera condiment then you may want to add two thinly sliced jalapeno peppers or two thinly sliced chipotle peppers instead.
Add the squash pieces to the skillet and mix well.
Add 1/4 cup of water to the skillet, then cover the skillet and let the mixture simmer on low heat for five minutes.
Add the rice to the skillet and mix well, then put the mixture into the preheated serving casserole.
Serve the meal using the preheated plates or wide bowls. They keep the food warm while you are eating it, and that is a nice touch. Those who want additional salt can add it at the table.
Various beverages are fine with this meal. I suggest a chilled, light white wine like Pinot Grigio. You might also serve a small fresh fruit salad with a touch of Chambord® liquor as the perfect dessert.