Risotto with Zucchini Cream and Basil, deliciously creamy and comforting but also fresh and perfect for spring.
320gms– 11.5 oz. riceArborio, Carnaroli or Vialone nano
250gms– 9 oz. zucchinisliced (I used baby zucchini)
4tbspextra virgin olive oildivided
50ml– ¼ cup white wine
1lt – 4 cups vegetable stock
4tbspParmigiano Reggianofinely grated
30gms– 2 tbsp butter
1 ½basil leaveschopped
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.