zucchini & cherry tomato risotto
Let’s say, hypothetically, that nearly every stand at your local farmers market is teeming with perfectly formed, bright green little zucchini — any and all of which could be yours for a mere $1 a pound. How much do you buy?
Right. A lot more than what’s pictured above. Because it seems silly to hand your friendly neighborhood farmer just one measly dollar and be on your way. I mean, this is food we’re talking about.
My point is that we’ve been eating a lot of zucchini lately. But when Chris wandered into the kitchen yesterday and groaned, “You put zucchini in cookies?” (I did. I don’t recommend it.), I thought it might be time for a frozen pizza.
Not for me, of course. I could eat zucchini every day from now until the blizzards come. Plus I had a pint of four-day-old cherry tomatoes languishing on the counter and quite a bit of shredded zucchini left over from the aforementioned cookie debacle.
And even after carefully tending to 107 marginally tasty chocolate chip zucchini cookies, I wasn’t entirely convinced I’d spent enough time standing around in the kitchen. So I made risotto. I got a nice little zen thing going with the stirring, and damn that risotto was good. The zucchini provided just the slightest hint of crunch, and the tomatoes infused the rice with their umami goodness while still retaining some of their texture and shape.
With its thirty or so minutes of active time risotto may sound a bit daunting, but if you don’t mind fairly continuous stirring it’s actually pretty easy. I can’t make Minute Rice to save my life but I’ve got risotto down. This will be made again. Possibly tomorrow.
Zucchini & Cherry Tomato Risotto
4 to 5 c. vegetable or chicken stock, warmed
2 T. butter or olive oil
1/2 c. chopped scallions, shallots, or onion
1 c. arborio or other short-grain rice
salt & pepper
1/2 c. dry white wine
1 c. shredded zucchini
1 c. cherry or grape tomatoes, quartered or halved
2 T. chopped basil
freshly grated parmesan
1) Melt the butter in a medium saucepan over medium heat. Add the onion and cook, stirring occasionally, about 5 minutes until it softens.
2) Add the rice and stir until it’s coated – about 3 minutes. Season with salt & pepper, then add the wine, stirring until the liquid has nearly bubbled away.
3) Use a ladle or measuring cup to add the warmed stock 1/2 cup at a time, stirring occasionally until most of the stock has been absorbed. Add additional stock as each new addition is absorbed, stirring frequently but not constantly.
4) Taste the rice after about 20 minutes. When it’s almost al dente (this could take closer to 30 minutes than 20), add the zucchini and tomatoes along with the last 1/2 cup of stock. Once the stock has been mostly absorbed, remove from heat, add the basil and parmesan, and stir to combine.