(Arroz con Calabaza )
Calabaza (Cucurbita moschata), also known as West Indian, Cuban, or Caribbean pumpkin, is a large hard-skinned squash available in the U.S. at Hispanic markets. Hubbard, butternut, and kabocha squash make good substitutes. The calabaza’s smooth, speckled skin can range from tan to orange to olive green and its flesh from yellow to orange. Choose dense-fleshed squash; watery ones fall apart in cooking.
- 2 cups long-grain rice
- 2 tbsp. annatto-infused oil
- 3 cloves garlic, peeled and finely chopped
- 1 small yellow onion, peeled and finely chopped
- 1 Italian frying or green bell pepper, stemmed, seeded, and finely chopped
- 1 lb. calabaza squash, seeded, peeled, and cut into 1/2" pieces
- 3 sprigs cilantro
- Put rice into a large bowl, cover with cold water, and swish rice around with your hand until water clouds. Drain and repeat process until water remains clear, 3-4 times more. Drain again and set aside.
- Heat oil in a medium heavy-bottomed pot over medium heat. Add garlic and cook, stirring, until golden, about 30 seconds. Add onions and cook, stirring frequently, until translucent, 5-8 minutes, then add peppers and cook for 2-3 minutes more. Add rice and cook, stirring constantly, until it is lightly toasted, about 1 minute.
- Add squash and cilantro in pot, stir in 3 cups of water, and season to taste with salt. Increase to medium-high and boil, undisturbed, until liquid barely covers rice, about 10 minutes. Reduce heat to low, cover, and cook until rice is tender about 20 minutes. Serve with plantain tamales in spicy shrimp sauce, if you like.