Summer in October – Zucchini Ribbon Risotto
After 6 years of living here I have given up trying to understand the weather in Michigan. I am in full fall cooking mode (look out for pumpkin and apple recipes abound!) but it is 80 degrees outside, go figure. So this seems as good a time as any to post my final summer recipe.
Last year I bought a box of Arborio rice for making risotto, and this was the 3rd time I’ve made it. I really like the taste and texture of it but am in a constant struggle with my fiancée to add enough to it to qualify the dish as a substantial meal. We had gotten several zucchini in our CSA box and peppers were on sale that weekend at Meijer. I roasted up 8 peppers (one tray pictured below) and added some to the risotto. The debate rages on as to whether it can stand by itself as a meal, but it sure is tasty either way.
The key thing with risotto is patience. Unlike the normal way you’d cook rice, you don’t add in all the liquid at once. Instead you add it gradually, not adding more until the last bit has been absorbed. Stir frequently to make sure things are cooked evenly (using a wide shallow pan will help so that you have to stir less). This elongated process allows the starches from the rice to be absorbed by the sauce you make, which generates the nice creamy texture.
Risotto also provides for a great deal of flexibility. These were the veggies I had on hand when making it, but you could just as easily have added mushrooms, asparagus, or a variety of herbs. Last Thursday I went to a friend’s house for what could only be described as a fancy dinner party who made a really nice pumpkin risotto. Whatever you might decide to put into it, enjoy!
- 2 onions, diced
- 4 cloves garlic, minced
- 1 C Arborio rice
- ½ C white wine
- 2½ C chicken stock
- ½ C shredded Parmesan cheese
- 2 zucchini, cut into ribbons with a peeler
- 3 peppers, roasted and sliced
- 2 Tbsp olive oil
- In a large, wide pan heat olive oil over medium heat. Add onion and cook for 5-7 minutes, then add garlic and cook for 1 more.
- Add the rice to the pan and stir so that it is covered with oil. Cook for an additional 3 minutes.
- In a separate small pot bring the chick stock to a simmer over medium-high heat and cover. Add the white wine and stir the rice.
- Continue to stir frequently until the wine has almost been completely absorbed. Add the heated chicken stock, ½ cup at a time to the rice. Do not add additional stock until the previous ½ cup has been absorbed. In total this process will take around 20-30 minutes.
- Once the last chicken stock has been absorbed add the parmesan cheese, zucchini, and peppers. Cook for an additional 2-3 minutes then serve.