30 August 2009

A creamy, flavorful rice dish I made for dinner tonight with fresh zucchini from our garden. I found the original recipe on Allrecipes. I made a few minor changes.

Zucchini Risotto
9 cups vegetable or chicken stock
1 tbsp olive oil
1 medium onion, chopped
2 cups Arborio rice
2 medium zucchini, chopped
1 tsp dried thyme
Salt and pepper

Bring stock to a boil in a medium stock pot, then reduce heat to a low simmer.
Heat oil in a large, stock pot over medium heat. Stir in onions and cook for 4 minutes, or until softened. Add the rice and cook for another 2 minutes, stirring constantly, until lightly toasted.

Ladle in simmering stock, one ladleful at a time, stirring continuously. When liquid is almost completely absorbed by the rice, put in another ladeful and continue stirring. Risotto will become "creamy" and slightly sticky, yet still firm in the center, or al dente.

When almost finished, stir in the zucchini and thyme, adding stock as needed and stirring continuously. Season with pepper to taste.

Makes 6 servings.

Nutrition Information
Servings Per Recipe: 6
Calories: 375
Total Fat: 4g
Cholesterol: 9mg
Sodium: 720mg
Total Carbs: 70g
Dietary Fiber: 5g
Protein: 10g

This was so good. If you've never made risotto before, you should try it. It has a bad reputation of being a complicated dish to make, but it really isn't. It does take a bit more attention than traditional rice, but it's really not that bad and the end result is so worth it. Risotto is super creamy, but doesn't have any cream or milk in it. Instead of putting the rice and the water (or stock) together in a pan and letting it cook undisturbed for 15 minutes or so, you toast the rice in some oil and add warm stock a little bit at a time, stirring throughout. Stirring the rice makes the starch come out and that is what gives it the "creamy" texture without the cream. So delicious.

I made a few changes to the original recipe I found on Allrecipes. I increased the amount of zucchini called for quite a bit. The original called for only a half of a zucchini. I halved the recipe and used a whole one. Half of a zucchini for 6 servings is definitely not enough. Also, the original called for sun-dried tomatoes and fresh basil. I thought it would be better without the tomatoes, and I didn't have fresh basil on hand. I had dried, but you can't add basil to a recipe while it's still cooking because it will turn black. If you add basil to it, add it after you remove it from the heat. It also called for 6 tbsp of parmesan to be mixed in at the end. I was going to do that, but forgot, and I loved it the way it was, so I omitted that from my amended recipe.

Here's a close-up picture of it. Check out the creamy goodness!

Tonight I served it with Herbed Cheese Stuffed Salmon, but it would go well with just about anything.

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