Fresh Zucchini & Lemon Risotto

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It is summertime and our garden is thriving!  I love having fresh vegetables, but his is my husband’s second baby.  He loves his garden!  He takes care of the veggies and I take care of the flowers.  This is our third year of gardening and we have learned a lot each season.  This year, my husband re-designed the garden beds and it looks amazing.  Each year it keeps getting bigger, but that just means more room for vegetables.  This year we are growing tomatoes, cucumbers, a million different kinds of peppers, eggplant, carrots, green beans, potatoes and the highlight of this dish, zucchini and summer squash.

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If you have read my blog, you know I love risotto.  The zucchini is plentiful in the garden so we needed some new ways to use it up.  This risotto is light and fresh and is actually inspired by the first course from our wedding.

Ingredients

  • 5 1/2-6 cups vegetable or chicken stock
  • 1/2 cup dry white wine
  • 1 onion, chopped
  • 2 Zucchinis, chopped
  • 2 cups Arborio rice
  • 4-5 large fresh basil leaves
  • 1/2 lemon, zested and juiced
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • Parmesan cheese to taste

Directions

In a large saucepan, bring the vegetable/chicken stock to a simmer.  While the stock is heating, in a food processor combine about 3/4 cups of the chopped zucchini, basil and a drizzle of olive oil to create a paste and set aside.

In a large sauté pan, heat 2 tablespoons of olive oil over medium heat, add onion and sauté until translucent and softened, but not browned.

Add the rice to the sauté pan and stir to coat with the oil.  Toast the rice until the edges become translucent and white spots appear in the center of the grains, about 1 min.

Pour in the wine and stir well until completely absorbed.

Add 1/2 cup of the hot stock to the rice.  Cook, stirring constantly, until all the stock has been absorbed. Continue to add the stock, 1/2 cup at time, and cook until each successive batch has been absorbed.  Once you have used about half of the stock, add the chopped zucchini and the zucchini and basil paste.  If you add it at the beginning the zucchini will cook for too long and get too soft.  Stir constantly and adjust the level of heat so the rice is simmering very gently while adding the stock until the rice mixture is creamy, but al dente.  This will take from 15 to 20 minutes.

Add the lemon zest and lemon juice, salt and pepper and top with a little parmesan cheese. Serve piping hot.

 

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