Fresh Zucchini & Lemon Risotto


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.


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.


  • 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


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.



Tomato Tart

It is the end of August and our garden is overflowing with tomatoes!

Tomato Tart - LiveDineParty

Although, it is great to have all of these fresh tomatoes right outside our door, it is becoming difficult to find creative ways to use them.  I found this great tomato tart recipe on my go to spot, Pinterest, and it is amazing!

Tomato Tart - LiveDineParty

The fresh ingredients really stand out in this simple recipe.  It is great for a light summer lunch, snack or appetizer.

Adapted from The Glossy Life


  • 1 Frozen puff pastry sheet (I used Pillsbury)
  • 1 Cup of ricotta (I used the store bought stuff this time, but next time I make I’m going to go to a specialty store and get the good stuff:) )
  • Fresh basil
  • Tomatoes, sliced thin (I used beefsteak and sun gold tomatoes, but would love to try it with some heirloom tomatoes)
  • Olive oil
  • Salt and pepper to taste


Pre-heat the oven to 400 degrees.  Start with a defrosted puff pastry sheet.  Place it on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper.  Spread the ricotta on the puff pastry sheet, leaving about an inch of pastry uncovered around the perimeter.  Layer the tomatoes on until you have covered the ricotta.  Drizzle with olive oil and finish with fresh basil.  Finally, brush the edges of the puff pastry with olive oil and sprinkle the entire tart with some salt and pepper.  Bake for 30-35 min until the pastry is golden brown.

Serve warm and enjoy!




Zucchini Flower Pizza

Zucchini Flower Recipe #2…pizza.

Zucchini Flower and Carmelized Onion Pizza - LiveDineParty

If I had to choose one food to eat for the rest of my life, I would definitely choose pizza.  When it comes to pizza, I don’t have that thing in your head that tells you “stop eating you are full.”  I’m usually a pretty basic pizza topping person, but the zucchini flowers make this recipe a little gourmet, which I love.  I would just like to note that my husband is one of those people I mentioned that think I’m crazy when it comes to zucchini flowers and he really enjoyed this!

Zucchini Flower and Carmelized Onion Pizza - LiveDineParty Zucchini Flower and Carmelized Onion Pizza - LiveDineParty


  • Pizza dough (I used store bought this time, but if you are feeling up to it, my go to pizza dough recipe from Tyler Florence can be found here)
  • Olive Oil
  • Butter
  • 1 onion
  • 1 large zucchini, diced
  • 7-8 zucchini flowers
  • Sauce
  • Mozzarella
  • Ricotta


Preheat the oven to 450 degrees.  Place a pizza stone in the oven to heat.  If you don’t have a pizza stone, you can use a regular baking sheet, but there is no need to preheat the pan.

In a small skillet melt 1 Tbs. of butter and add the onions.  Cook slowly, stirring until soft.  Add the zucchini.  Cook until onions are caramelized and zucchini is soft.  Place aside.

Roll out the pizza dough.  Place on hot pizza stone, brush with olive oil and put it in the oven.  I like to cook my dough until it is just starting to brown.  This ensures a crispy crust without overcooking the toppings.  Add the sauce, mozzarella cheese, caramelized onions and zucchini.  Place the zucchini flowers on the pizza and dollop ricotta cheese in between the flowers.

Cook until cheese is bubbly and crust is golden brown.  Enjoy and try not eat it the whole pizza yourself! 🙂