20 October 2011 at 3:21 pm, by Annie Chen
Found this recipe on Mark Bittman’s blog and it was great for a late summer meal. I know it’s not really in season anymore, but for my California readers you really can get zucchini and green beans all the time. I love risotto, but could live without all the butter/cheese/white rice. This version uses brown rice and gets it’s creaminess from the zucchini, what a great idea! Also threw in a bunch of chopped up green beans and peas for some extra veg, it worked out perfectly. A great dinner and lunch the next day. Enjoy.
Lemony Zucchini Risotto
Makes: 4 servings
Time: 45 to 60 minutes
Risotto can be almost meager or incredibly luxurious; this one manages to be both, as the grated zucchini mostly melts away, leaving behind a creamy richness that doesn’t depend on tons of rice or mounds of cheese. Parboiling the brown rice as directed in Step 1 helps the rice absorb water quickly and evenly.
1 cup short-grain brown rice
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 onion, chopped
1⁄2 cup dry white wine or water
3 to 5 cups vegetable or chicken stock or water
4 small or 2 large zucchini (about 1 1⁄2 pounds), grated
Grated zest and juice of 1 lemon
1⁄2 cup grated Parmesan cheese, optional
1 tablespoon butter or additional olive oil, optional
1⁄2 cup chopped fresh basil, plus more for garnish, optional
1. Bring a medium pot of water to a boil and salt it. Stir in the brown rice, adjust the heat so that the water bubbles steadily, and cook, without stirring, for 10 to 15 minutes. Drain well.
2. Put the oil in a large, deep skillet over medium heat. When it’s hot, add the onion and cook, stirring occasionally, until it softens, about 5 minutes. Add the rice and cook, stirring occasionally, until it is glossy and coated with oil, just a couple of minutes. Sprinkle with salt and pepper, then add the wine. Stir and let the liquid bubble away.
3. Begin to add the stock, about 1⁄2 cup at a time, stirring after each addition and every minute or so. When the stock is just about evaporated, add more. The mixture should be neither soupy nor dry. Keep the heat medium to medium-high and stir frequently.
4. After about 15 minutes of adding stock, stir in the zucchini and cook, stirring, until it releases its liquid and the mixture again becomes dry. Begin tasting the rice about 5 minutes later; you want it to be tender but with still a tiny bit of crunch. It could take as long as 45 minutes to reach this stage. When it does, stir in the lemon zest and juice, and the Parmesan, butter, and basil if you’re using them. Taste and adjust the seasoning. Serve immediately, garnished with additional basil if you like.