I know some people find the idea of making risotto daunting. I have shared many risotto recipes on this blog and it is actually the dish I first learnt how to cook on my own, as it was my favourite dish. I was 6 or 7 years old, so as you can understand, making risotto is actually easy. You just need to know a few facts: 1. Do not wash the rice. Unlike with Asian rice, you don’t want to wash out the starch from the rice, as this is what will make your risotto creamy. 2. You need to “toast” the rice, which means you have to fry it off on a medium fire after you sauté your onions. This will help the rice retain its shape and not overcook. 3. No need to constantly stir your risotto if you are using a non-stick pan. A few stirs here and there are plenty. 4. Risotto, like pasta, needs to be left al dente. So, do not overcook it. Follow the rice packaging instructions for cooking time. 5. You need to finish it off with butter (or, if making a risotto with soft cheeses like gorgonzola, with your soft cheese) and grated Parmigiano Reggiano when the rice is cooked. And do this after you put the fire off, this is how you get a “creamy” risotto – no cream needed. 6. When your risotto is ready, it needs to have a little liquid at the bottom. The rice will keep absorbing this liquid until you eat it, so if you don’t want to end up with a dry risotto, leave some liquid in it. That’s it. Make it a couple of times and it will all become second nature to you. It is that easy! 🙂 Enjoy today’s version, made with zucchini and some home-made pesto on the top: it is delicious!
Risotto with Zucchini and Pesto
The recipe for a delicious Risotto with Zucchini and Pesto.
- 320 gms – 11.3 oz. rice Arborio, Carnaroli or Vialone nano
- ½ onion finely chopped
- 2 zucchini roughly cubed
- 2 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
- 50 ml – 1.7 oz. white wine
- 1 lt – 33.8 oz. salty water or vegetable stock I used water as I did not want the stock to overpower the delicate flavour of the ingredients
- 4 tbsp Parmigiano Reggiano finely grated
- 30 gms – 2 tbsp butter
- 4 tbsp Pesto
- Salt to taste
Prepare the Pesto following this recipe and keep it aside.
Start by putting the water with a pinch of salt in a pot and heat it on the fire. The water has to be hot all the time while you are cooking risotto, so that the rice temperature does not drop when you add the water to it.
Put the finely chopped onion and the 2 tbsp of extra virgin olive oil in a pot and let it cook on a slow fire, until the onion becomes soft and transparent.
Add the zucchini and mix. Sauté for 1 or 2 minutes.
Add the rice, mix well and let it cook for 1 or 2 minutes, until it becomes translucent. Now pour in the white wine and let the alcohol burn off by cooking on a high flame. Then add enough hot water/stock to cover the rice and turn the fire to medium-low. Keep cooking, occasionally stirring the rice and adding hot water little by little, until the rice is cooked. It is going to take approximately 18 to 20 minutes depending on the rice you are using.
When the rice is ready, put the fire off and add the grated Parmigiano Reggiano and butter to it. Mix very well, until the rice becomes creamy. Make sure that your risotto is moist (or, as we say, all’onda – which literally means wavy) and not sticky. You can do that by adding 1 or 2 extra tbsp of hot water/stock if needed. Check for salt and season to your liking.
Plate it, add 1 tablespoon of Pesto per dish and serve immediately.