Friday, August 7, 2009

Risotto with Peas and Zucchini

When I started this blog, one of my intentions was to inspire readers to "learn something new", and now I'm trying something new. This was my first attempt at making a risotto.

Making a good risotto is rather like riding a bicycle: It takes a little bit of practice to begin with, and a certain amount of concentration thereafter. Risotti are also very sensitive to timing, and this is why what is served in a restaurant (no matter how good it is) will rarely display that rich texture and just-right doneness that a good home-made risotto will.

When buying rice to make a risotto, choose short-grained round or semi-round rice; among the best rices for making risotti are Arborio, Vialone Nano, and Carnaroli. Other short-grained rices such as Originario will also work. Long grained rice such as Patna won't do, because the grains will stay separate. Nor should you use minute rice -- it won't absorb the condiments, and again the grains will remain separate.

Taking advantage of some great summer zucchini and peas, I made this wonderful risotto. Risotto with Peas and Zucchini

First step is to heat the chicken stock with some water and keep it warm over a very low heat. In a seperate sauce pan melt some butter and, add the zucchini; season with salt and pepper. Cook the zucchini until it's golden. Remove the zucchini with a slotted spoon to a seperate dish.

Reduce the heat and add the onion. Cook until it's soft, then season with salt & pepper.

Raise the heat to medium, then add the rice, cooking and stirring until it's translucent around the edges which will take about 3 minutes.

Add the wine and cook until absorbed.

Cook, adding the hot stock, 1 cup at a time and stir until almost all the liquid is absorbed before adding more, until the rice is tender, 25 to 30 minutes total. You may not use all the stock.

Add the zucchini and peas, cook until peas are bright green. Remove from heat.

Stir in remaining butter and Parmesan Cheese.

Serve topped with more Parmesan, if desired.


  1. Great job, John! Risottos not that hard.. but one false move and you can have wallpaper paste! :-) I like this recipe... I'll have to try it!

  2. I bought a box of mushroom & herb risotto at Trader Joe's a few weeks ago but haven't tried making it yet.

  3. I have never made risotto - thank you for the step-by-step instructions! Looks great!