Besides experimenting with Japanese cooking, I have also cooked some good old Italian food. This Risotto with Zucchini Cream and Basil is one of my latest favourite risotto and I have it quite often, alternating it with the Pumpkin and Gorgonzola one. I love the combination of zucchini and basil as I think their flavours compliment each other very well. Besides, basil adds some freshness and depth to the creamy and comforting risotto. Basil is my favourite herb as, to me, it represents home… I would regularly use it in my dishes back in Italy and I continue to use it here in Australia. I have even planted it in my yard and, even though it’s winter, it is still alive, so I am able to go out and grab some fresh leaves whenever I feel like it. And when I smell it, it brings a smile to my face. Only a few aromas can do that to me. What about you, which aroma makes you smile? Enjoy this risotto and let me know what you think!
Risotto with Zucchini Cream and Basil
Risotto with Zucchini Cream and Basil, deliciously creamy and comforting but also fresh and perfect for spring.
- 320 gms – 11.5 oz. rice Arborio, Carnaroli or Vialone nano
- 250 gms – 9 oz. zucchini sliced (I used baby zucchini)
- ½ onion finely chopped
- 4 tbsp extra virgin olive oil divided
- 50 ml – ¼ cup white wine
- 1 lt – 4 cups vegetable stock
- 4 tbsp Parmigiano Reggiano finely grated
- 30 gms – 2 tbsp butter
- 1 ½ basil leaves chopped
- Salt to taste
Put half of the extra virgin olive oil in a pot. Add the sliced zucchini and 2 tablespoons of water. Season with salt to taste and cook, covered, on a slow fire for 5 minutes, or until cooked.
Put the fire off and blend until smooth. You may need to add a little water to blend them, but keep it creamy and not watery.
Put the stock in a pot and heat it on the fire. The stock has to be hot all the time while you are cooking risotto, so that the rice temperature does not drop when you add it to it.
Put the remaining 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 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 stock to cover the rice and turn the fire to medium-low. Keep cooking, occasionally stirring the rice and adding hot stock 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.
After the first 15 minutes, add the zucchini purée and keep cooking the rice.
When the rice is ready, put the fire off and add the chopped basil leaves, butter and grated Parmigiano Reggiano. 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 stock if needed. Check for salt and season to your liking.
Do not wash the rice before cooking it. You want to keep the starch in it, as that is what makes risotto naturally creamy.