This Italian Zucchini Risotto is a perfect way to kick start your summer season. Its summertime in the Northern hemisphere and in many places, gardens are blooming with ripe vegetables.
When zucchini is in season, it is typically sweet and plentiful. Many Italians celebrate by making this wonderful Italian Zucchini Risotto and often find ways to compliment the dish with the beautiful zucchini flowers. This risotto is a colorful and flavorful summer dish that can be served as an appetizer or an entree.
When I am in the mood for comfort food, Italian Zucchini Risotto is one of the first things to come to mind. Its creamy, and there is something healing about the process of stirring and adding the broth slowly that is reminiscent of the way foods must have been prepared many years ago. Making risotto is wonderful not only because almost anything can be added to a risotto, but because it cooks slowly allowing you enough time to prepare another dish simultaneously while occasionally reaching over to give it a stir. Add a nice glass of wine to complete the scene and help you completely unwind.
Here is what the dish looks like as we move through the process.
Adding broth a little at a time…..
Mixing in the Basil, Parsley and Parmesan Cheese…..
It’s important to note that you really must use arborio, carnaroli or vialone rice. You cannot substitute for other rices, otherwise you won’t get enough starch out of it in order to make your risotto creamy and not sticky. Also, don’t be worry about the butter. It’s all natural and and skimping will not give you the same flavor or results. When it comes to butter I usually make every attempt to minimize or avoid it all together, but there are cases like when it’s really necessary. There comes a time when it really pays off to indulge, and this Italian Zucchini Risotto is a beautiful indulgence. If you want to be creative, try substituting some mushrooms, proscuito, fresh peas or any combination of the three. The results will be equally delicious.
Here is ready to be plated. You can almost feel the creaminess!
I am confident that you will enjoy making it, and eating it will be even better!
Italian Zucchini Risotto
- 6-7 cups chicken stock or vegetable stock
- 7 tablespoons of butter
- 1 tablespoon of extra virgin olive oil
- 3 zucchini about 3/4 pound, diced
- 1 large onion chopped very fine
- 1 parsley spring minced, and 1/4 cup minced
- 2 to 3 fresh basil leaves minced
- 1 1/2 cups Italian short-grain rice Arborio, Carnaroli or Vialone Nano
- Salt and freshly ground black pepper
- 1 cup grated Parmesan cheese
- In a medium sauce pan heat up the broth and keep it at simmer.
- In a large skillet or heavy saucepan, combine 3 TBSP of butter and the olive oil and heat over medium-high heat. Add the zucchini and sauté, stirring until beginning to brown, about 10 minutes. Season with salt and pepper, transfer the zucchini to a bowl and reserve.
- Return the saucepan to the heat, add the remaining butter and heat over medium heat. Add the onion, parsley sprig and basil, and sauté, stirring often, until the onion is soft, about 7 minutes.
- Reduce the heat to medium, stir in the rice and saute, stirring, until the rice starts to stick to the pan. Immediately add a 4-ounce ladleful of the stock at a time.
- Cook, stirring until the stock is absorbed. Continue adding stock in this fashion and cooking until the rice is al dente, about 20 minutes.
- Remove from the heat, stir in the zucchini, remaining parsley and parmesan cheese.
- Serve immediately. Enjoy it!