Monday, September 22, 2008

Zucchini Risotto

I have a confession: risotto scares me. It just seems so complicated! Lots of stirring and adding liquid in precise amounts. Not to mention that whenever I see someone making it on Hell's Kitchen they're always sweaty and stressed and crying.

However, I knew that I had to conquer my fear. Risotto is really popular now, and when done right it can be a main course, appetizer, or side. It's also a lovely alternative to pasta and rice. It took forever to stir and get all the liquid into the risotto, but I did it! And it was so delicious and creamy, too. I made a little too much, but it was worth it and I'll be packing the extras to work for lunch this week.

I got this recipe from Allrecipes.com. I love allrecipes....I always seem to find what I'm looking for.

Zucchini Risotto

4-2/3 cups vegetable or chicken stock
2 teaspoons butter
2/3 medium onion, chopped
1-1/3 cups Arborio rice, uncooked
1/3 medium zucchini, thinly sliced with a vegetable peeler
6-3/4 sun-dried tomatoes, softened and chopped
3/4 teaspoon dried thyme, crushed
1/4 cup freshly grated Parmesan (or mozzarella) cheese
2 teaspoons chopped fresh basil leaves, or to taste (optional)
freshly ground black pepper to taste

Bring vegetable or chicken stock to a boil in a medium pot, then reduce heat to a low simmer.

Melt butter in a large, heavy bottomed pot over medium heat. Stir in onions and cook for 2 minutes, or until softened. Add the rice and cook for another 2 minutes, stirring constantly, until lightly toasted.

Gradually ladle in simmering stock, stirring continuously. Risotto will become "creamy" and slightly sticky, yet still firm in the center, or al dente.

When almost finished, stir in the zucchini, sun-dried tomatoes, and thyme, adding stock as needed and stirring continuously. Stir in basil and 3 tablespoons cheese just before serving.

Notes:
  • The fresh basil made such a difference in this, but if you have dried, use dried.
  • Oregano would be a great flavor for this, too!
  • I used chicken stock, but I still felt like it wasn't salty enough. Either my tolerance for salt is so high my arteries are begging me to stop, or I got a crazy batch of chicken stock.
  • Occasionally I had to stop stirring and do something else, like chop my zucchini. I think letting the risotto stand for a few minutes at a time helped it thicken up and absorb more liquid.
  • The zucchini in this risotto is amazing. I love zucchini, and I love how it tastes when it's warm and buttery.
  • I chose to chiffonade the basil instead of giving it a rough chop because I'm a snob. :-) I also wanted it to look pretty.

1 comment:

  1. I felt the same way about risotto the first time I made it... but it really is easy, despite how time consuming it can be. I love how you used zucchini to give it a twist too!

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