Zucchini and Lemon Risotto
Zucchini is everywhere this time of year and I couldn’t be happier! This dish is summer on a plate. Cooked to a perfect al dente, the risotto is creamy, and flavorful and the meyer lemon zest grated over the top gives it a burst of freshness. You could absolutely switch the parsley for mint. We don’t tend to use mint in our savory dishes often so I wouldn’t blame you for taking the opportunity. I tend to use a larger pot and double the recipe when making this so I can make arancini the next day with the leftovers. Once the risotto is made, making the arancini are a cinch. If you are interested, the recipe is linked at the bottom of the page.Note: If you swap the chicken stock with vegetable stock, this dish could easily be turned vegetarian.
- 2 1/2 cups Arborio or carnaroli
- 2 1/2 cups Shredded zucchini 2-3 medium sized
- 6 cups Chicken broth
- 1/2 cup Diced onion
- 3/4 cup White wine
- 1/4 cup Butter
- 2/3 cup Parmeggiano-Reggiano, Grated
- 1 teaspoon Salt
- 1/4 teaspoon Pepper
- Olive oil Extra Virgin
- Lemon zest 2 lemons
- Meyer lemon olive oil
- Mint or Parsley Chopped
- To begin, warm the chicken broth in a sauce pan and bring to a boil.
- While the stock is coming to a boil, dice the onion.
- Pour a little oil and butter in a saucepan and add the onion and let it sweat. Sprinkle with salt. Cook on a low heat, stirring often, for about ten minutes. If the pan gets dry, you can add a little of the hot stock.
- Increase the heat and add the rice to the pan, toasting for a few minutes, stirring constantly and making sure that the rice does not burn. As soon as the rice has taken on a lighter color, add the white wine to deglaze the pan. This will pick up any brown bits that stuck to the bottom of the pan, adding flavor to the risotto.
- Allow the alcohol to evaporate completely and then add a few ladles of simmering broth. Remember that the risotto should not be mixed very much and that the broth should be poured as needed before the rice has completely absorbed it.
- While the rice is cooking, wash and dry the zucchini and use a cheese grater or box grater to grate them.
- Halfway through cooking the rice, dip the shredded zucchini to the risotto. Season with salt and pepper and continue adding broth and and stirring until the rice is a perfect al dente.
- Turn off the heat and add the mint leaves by hand. Add freshly ground black pepper. Stir in the butter and the grated parmesan.
- Plate the risotto, but before serving, grate the lemon zest on top of the risotto right over the plate, drizzle with meyer lemon olive oil and sprinkle with fresh chopped parsley.
Serve promptly. Risotto continues to absorb water as it sits and it will get mushy. This is the perfect time to raise your voice. Get to the table. Dinner’s ready!