Risotto with Zucchini, Petals and Basil
For this lively dish, select Italys famed starchy, short-grained Arborio white rice.
- 5 to 5 ½ cups unsalted vegetable stock
- 1 cup finely chopped yellow onion
- 4 Tbs. unsalted butter
- 1 ½ cups Arborio rice
- ½ cup dry white wine
- 1 tsp. kosher salt
- 2 cups diced small, tender zucchini
- ½ cup freshly grated Parmigiano Reggiano cheese
- 1 cup coarsely chopped basil leaves
- 18 zucchini blossoms, petals only, cleaned and torn in large pieces, optional
- Freshly ground black pepper to taste
- Heat stock over very low heat in small saucepan, and continue cooking.
- Melt 2 tablespoons butter in large saucepan over medium heat. Add onion, and cook, stirring often, for 5 minutes, or until soft but not brown. Add rice, reduce heat to medium-low and stir for 1 minute. Add wine and salt.
- Stir rice continuously with large wooden spoon until all liquid is absorbed. Ladle in 1 cup of hot stock, and stir often while rice cooks gently. When rice absorbs first cup of stock, add second. Continue stirring and adding stock, always waiting until rice absorbs liquid before adding more, allowing about 30 minutes to cook. When done, rice is creamy and tender but with firm center.
- Stir in zucchini, and cook for 1 minute. Stir in cheese, remaining butter and basil. If necessary, add more stock to keep risotto moist and creamy—it should form a spreading mound if spooned onto plate. Stir in blossoms, if using. Season to taste.
One of the nice things about basil is its affinity for a wide range of wines. Combining it with Parmesan cheese into a creamy risotto is heavenly. While a big American Cabernet or spicy Australian Shiraz would taste yummy, they might overpower the subtle zucchini. Try a Pinot Noir instead, such as Silver Ridge Vineyards Pinot Noir.