Creamy Zucchini Risotto Recipe

Prepare to relish in the goodness of our small batch Zucchini Risotto recipe, thoughtfully designed for solo culinary maestros. Indulge in the creaminess of this Italian classic, where the freshness of zucchini melds harmoniously with the decadence of risotto, offering a truly delightful and gratifying meal crafted exclusively for your own enjoyment.

Zucchini Risotto is a delicious and hearty Italian dish that combines the creamy texture of risotto with the fresh, earthy flavor of zucchini. Imagine a comforting bowl of perfectly cooked arborio rice, loaded with tender zucchini and topped off with a sprinkle of parmesan cheese. Sounds tempting, doesn’t it?

Zucchini Risotto is a versatile dish that can be served as a main course or a side dish. And the best part? You can easily make this restaurant-quality dish at home. In this blog post, you’ll discover everything you need to know about mastering the perfect Zucchini Risotto Recipe. So, let’s dive in!

Zucchini Risotto Recipe in a Bowl

What is Risotto?

Before we dive into the recipe, let’s talk about risotto. Risotto is a traditional Italian dish made with Arborio rice, which is known for its high starch content. The unique cooking technique involves gradually adding warm broth to the rice, allowing it to absorb the liquid while releasing its starches. This process creates a creamy and luscious texture that sets risotto apart from other regular rice dishes forming the creamiest risotto.

Zucchini Tomato Risotto Recipe

Why Zucchini Risotto Is The Perfect Dish

Zucchini Risotto is a perfect dish for many reasons. First, it’s a balance of health and indulgence. Zucchini is packed with nutrients and is low in calories, while risotto brings a rich, creamy texture that feels indulgent.

Second, Zucchini Risotto is easy to prepare. Even if you’re a cooking novice. It requires a few simple ingredients and follows a straightforward cooking process.

Lastly, Zucchini Risotto is adaptable. You can easily adjust the recipe to your taste by adding different herbs, cheeses, or even proteins to create the best flavor.

Ingredients Needed for This Recipe

To make this tantalizing zucchini risotto, you will need the following ingredients:

Ingredients:

  • Arborio Rice
  • Vegetable Broth or Vegetable Stock (substitute: chicken stock if not vegetarian)
  • Dry white Wine (or more vegetable broth)
  • Extra Virgin Olive Oil 
  • Yellow Onion, diced (substitute: white onion)
  • Fresh Garlic 
  • Sea Salt or Kosher Salt
  • Black Pepper
  • Dried Oregano
  • Zucchini
  • Cherry Tomatoes
  • Fresh Basil (or Basil Leaves)

Ingredient Notes:

Arborio Rice

This short-grain rice is essential for achieving the perfect creamy consistency in your risotto.

Vegetable or Chicken Broth

Choose a high-quality broth to enhance the flavor of your risotto. You can use either vegetable or chicken broth, depending on your preference.

Parmesan Cheese

Freshly grated Parmesan cheese adds a nutty and salty taste to the risotto, enhancing its overall richness.

Zucchini Risotto Recipe Ingridents

Equipment Needed for This Recipe

Before you get started, make sure you have the following tools on hand:

  • Large Pot or Dutch Oven
  • Wooden Spoon
  • Chef’s Knife
  • Cutting Board
  • Grater
  • Measuring Cups
  • Measuring Spoons

Tools you’ll need

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Step-by-Step Preparation of Tomato and Zucchini Risotto

Now, let’s walk you through the step-by-step preparation of the Zucchini Risotto Recipe.

1

Step 1: Cut the Onion, Garlic, and Zucchini

Mince the onion and garlic. Slice the zucchini into semi-circles, about a little over ¼” (6mm) thick. Halve the cherry tomatoes lengthwise. Stack the basil leaves and slice them into thin ribbons.

2

Step 2: Add the olive oil, Onion, and Garlic

In a large, heavy-bottom pot, heat 2 tbsp (30ml) of olive oil over medium heat. Add the diced onions and minced garlic. Cook for 1-2 minutes until they start to soften.

3

Step 3: Toast the Rice

Add the Arborio rice to the saucepan and stir it gently, coating each grain with the melted butter. Toast the rice for a minute or two until it becomes slightly translucent around the edges.

4

Step 4: Deglaze with Wine

Pour in the dry white wine and stir the mixture. Allow the wine to simmer until it is mostly absorbed by the rice.

5

Step 5: Add the Broth

Add 1 ¾ cups of broth (415ml), dried oregano, salt, and pepper. Reduce the heat slightly and cook for 12-14 minutes until the liquid is absorbed, stirring regularly. The rice should be tender yet slightly firm to the bite. Turn the heat to low. Stir in the remaining ½ cup (65ml) of vegetable broth. The rice cooks for an additional 2-3 minutes, stirring regularly. Set it aside.

6

Step 6: Incorporate the Zucchini

Heat 2 tbsp (30ml) of olive oil in a large pan over high heat. Add the sliced zucchini, flattening them as much as possible in the pan. Cook for 60-90 seconds before flipping them. Cook the second side for an additional 30-60 seconds, until they develop some brown spots. The zucchini should be cooked but still slightly crunchy. Remove them from the pan but leave the oil in the pan.

7

Step 7: Time for Tomatoes

With the pan still on high heat, add the sliced cherry tomatoes. Cook for 30-60 seconds until they start to soften on the edges. Remove them from the pan. Gently stir the cooked zucchini, tomatoes, and three-quarters of the basil into the risotto. This will incorporate the flavors and give the dish a vibrant look and much flavor.

8

Step 8: Season and Add Parmesan

Serve your zucchini risotto immediately, topped with the remaining basil. For an added touch, you can sprinkle roasted pine nuts or grated parmesan on top.

Pairing Suggestions For Zucchini Risotto

Zucchini Risotto is a versatile dish that pairs well with a variety of foods. For a complete Italian meal, serve it with a side of crusty bread and a green salad. If you’re serving it as a side dish, it pairs beautifully with grilled chicken breast or fish. As for wine, a crisp white wine like Pinot Grigio or Sauvignon Blanc complements the flavors of the Zucchini Risotto and is a perfect pairing for a solo dinner or share with a friend.

Common Mistakes While Preparing Zucchini Risotto 

Despite its simplicity, there are a few common mistakes you might make while preparing this creamy arborio rice.

  • Not Stirring Enough: Remember, the key to a creamy risotto is constant stirring.
  • Using Cold Broth: Using cold broth can hinder the cooking process. Always use warm broth for a smooth, evenly cooked risotto.
  • Overcooking the Zucchini: Add the zucchini halfway through the cooking process to maintain its texture and flavor.
Zucchini Tomato Risotto

Variations of the Zucchini Risotto Recipe

Once you’ve mastered the basic Zucchini Risotto Recipe, you can experiment with various add-ins when you are cooking risotto. For extra protein, add grilled chicken or shrimp. For a vegan version, replace the butter and cheese with vegan alternatives. You can also add different vegetables or herbs depending on your preference for a great way to get other flavor profiles.

Benefits of Including Zucchini in Your Diet

Zucchini is more than just a tasty addition to your risotto. It’s low in calories, high in antioxidants, and a great source of Vitamin A and C. Including zucchini in your diet can promote healthy digestion, lower blood sugar levels, and improve heart health.

Storage and Leftovers

How to Store Leftover Ingredients

Sometimes our recipes leave us with leftover ingredients, such as half a zucchini or extra basil leaves. Here are a few tips on storing them:

  • Half a Zucchini: Wrap the cut side tightly in plastic wrap or place it in a resealable bag or an airtight container and store it in the refrigerator. Use it within 2-3 days for optimal freshness. You can also use green zucchini in another recipe or as a refreshing addition to your salads.
  • Basil Leaves: Place the basil leaves in a glass or jar with water, like a bouquet of flowers. Loosely cover the leaves with a plastic bag and store them at room temperature. Change the water every couple of days to keep the leaves fresh.

How to Store Leftovers

This small batch recipe makes four servings. If you are cooking for yourself you will have a few leftovers. Simply store your leftovers in an airtight container to eat at a later time. Store the container in the refrigerator and use it within a couple of days in another recipe or as a refreshing addition to your salads.

Zucchini tomato risotto

Frequently Asked Questions

The secret ingredient that gives risotto its creamy texture is the starchy rice itself. Arborio rice, with its high starch content, releases starch while cooking, creating a velvety consistency.

The calorie count of zucchini risotto can vary based on the specific ingredients and portion sizes used. As a rough estimate, zucchini risotto typically ranges from 300 to 400 calories per serving.

To enhance the flavors of your risotto, consider adding ingredients such as sautéed mushrooms, grated parmesan cheese, roasted garlic, or a splash of lemon juice. Experiment with different herbs and spices to find your preferred combination.

When it comes to choosing cheese for risotto, parmesan is a popular choice. Its nutty and slightly salty flavor complements the creaminess of the risotto and adds depth to the dish. However, feel free to explore other cheese options like pecorino or fontina to suit your taste.

Risotto and congee are both rice-based dishes but differ significantly in their preparation and texture. Risotto is an Italian dish made with Arborio rice, cooked slowly with constant stirring until creamy. On the other hand, congee is a rice porridge commonly found in Asian cuisine, where rice is cooked in a large amount of liquid for a longer time, resulting in a soupier consistency.

Risotto is made from rice, particularly short-grain varieties like Arborio, Carnaroli, or Vialone Nano. The starch content in these rice varieties is higher, allowing them to release starch and create the creamy texture that characterizes risotto.

Let Us Make Creamy Zucchini Risotto

There you have it – a delectable small batch zucchini risotto recipe that is tailored to the needs of solo chefs. With its creamy texture, vibrant flavors, and the freshness of zucchini, this Italian dish is sure to impress your taste buds. So, roll up your sleeves, gather the ingredients, and embark on a culinary adventure by creating your very own zucchini risotto masterpiece. Bon appétit!

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Zucchini Risotto Recipe

  • Author: The Solo Spoon
  • Prep Time: 10
  • Cook Time: 20
  • Total Time: 30 minutes
  • Yield: 4
  • Category: Dinner
  • Method: Stovetop

Description

Our small batch zucchini risotto recipe brings you a comforting, creamy, and flavorful dish. It combines the earthiness of zucchini with the richness of Arborio rice, creating a delightful Italian delicacy. Whether enjoyed as a standalone meal or an accompaniment to a main course, this zucchini risotto will deliver a restaurant-quality experience right in your home.


Ingredients

Units
  • 1 cup/200g arborio rice
  • 2 1/4 cups/530ml vegetable broth, divided
  • 3/4 cup/175ml dry white wine (or more vegetable broth)
  • 4 tbsp/60ml olive oil, divided
  • 1/2 med/90g yellow onion, diced
  • 2 cloves/10g garlic, minced
  • 1/2 tsp/3g salt
  • 1/2 tsp/1g ground pepper
  • 3/4 tsp/1g dried oregano
  • 1 lg/150g zucchini
  • 8 oz/225g cherry tomatoes
  • 1/4 cup/15g packed basil leaves
  • Roasted pine nuts and/or grated parmesan to serve (optional)

Instructions

  1. Mince onion and garlic.
  2. Slice zucchini in semi-circles a little over ¼”/6mm thick. Slice tomatoes in half lengthwise.
  3. Stack the basil leaves and slice into thin ribbons.
  4. In a large, heavy bottom pot, heat 2 tbsp/30ml of olive oil on medium heat.
  5. Add onions and garlic. Cook for 1 – 2 minutes until starting to soften.
  6. Add the rice. Cook for 1 minute, stirring frequently, until rice becomes translucent on the edges.
  7. Immediately add the white wine and stir to lift any rice grains stuck to the pot.
  8. Cook for 1-2 minutes to boil off the alcohol. Add 1 ¾ cup/415ml broth, oregano, salt, and pepper.
  9. Reduce heat slightly and cook for 12-14 minutes until the liquid is absorbed, stirring regularly.
  10. Turn the heat to low. Stir in the remaining ½ cup/65ml of broth. Cook for an additional 2-3 minutes, stirring regularly. Set aside.
  11. Heat 2 tbsp/30ml of olive oil in a large pan over high heat.
  12. Add the sliced zucchini. Get them as flat as possible in the pan. Cook for 60-90 seconds before flipping them.
  13. Cook the second side for an additional 30-60 seconds. You want to see some brown spots but they should be only just cooked. Remove from the pan but leave the oil in the pan.
  14. With the pan still on high heat, add the sliced tomatoes. Cook for 30-60 seconds. Until starting to soften on the edges. Remove from the pan.
  15. Stir zucchini, tomatoes, and ¾ of the basil gently into the risotto.*
  16. Serve immediately topped with the remaining basil.

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