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Originally published Wednesday, January 21, 2009 at 12:00 AM

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Recipe: Mario Batali's Spanish-style rice with Winter Vegetables

Kitchen experts share some of their favorite skillet recipes.

Mario Batali takes his love for food to Spain in his new PBS series and accompanying book with Gwyneth Paltrow, "Spain: A Culinary Road Trip" (Harper Collins).

"Don't automatically think meat when you get out your skillet. Try this vegetarian combination of rice, winter vegetables, and herbs. It's like a lighter version of risotto with Spanish flair."

MARIO BATALI'S SPANISH-STYLE RICE WITH WINTER VEGETABLES

Prep: 25 minutes

Cook: 30 minutes

Ingredients

1 to 2 tsp. saffron threads (1/2 gram) or Spanish paprika

7 to 8 cups vegetable broth (two 32-oz. boxes)

2 cups arborio rice or short-grain rice

1 medium carrot, coarsely chopped

1 medium red sweet pepper, coarsely chopped

1 small turnip, peeled and chopped

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½ small acorn squash, peeled, seeded, and cubed

4 green onions, thinly sliced

1 cup cremini mushrooms, quartered

½ medium zucchini, chopped

5 to 6 Tbsp. olive oil

Fresh thyme leaves

Directions

1. In small saucepan combine saffron and 1 cup water; bring to boiling. Remove from heat. In large saucepan bring broth to boiling; reduce heat. Cover and keep warm.

2. In 12-inch skillet combine saffron mixture and rice; bring to boiling over high heat. Simmer, stirring frequently, until most liquid is absorbed. Add carrot, sweet pepper, turnip, squash, and 1 cup broth; bring to boiling; reduce heat to medium. Simmer and stir until most liquid is absorbed. Continue adding broth, 1 cup at a time, stirring constantly until liquid is absorbed and rice is just tender (about 20 minutes, adding 5 cups broth total).

3. Add green onions, mushrooms, zucchini, and 1 cup broth. Cook and stir until liquid is absorbed. Add remaining 1 to 2 cups broth. Cook and stir until vegetables are tender and rice is tender yet slightly firm in the center (about 10 minutes, adding 2 to 3 cups broth total.)

4. Remove from heat; stir in 4 tablespoons of the olive oil. To serve, drizzle with remaining olive oil and sprinkle with thyme. Makes 8 servings.

Nutrition Facts: Calories 263, Total Fat (g) 9, Saturated Fat (g) 1, Monounsaturated Fat (g) 6, Polyunsaturated Fat (g) 1, Cholesterol (mg) 0, Sodium (mg) 840, Carbohydrate (g) 43, Total Sugar (g) 4, Fiber (g) 2, Protein (g) 4, Vitamin C (DV percent) 46, Calcium (DV percent) 2, Iron (DV percent) 13, Percent Daily Values are based on a 2,000 calorie diet

Copyright © 2009 The Seattle Times Company

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