The zucchini in the garden beckons. When cooked in a risotto, the zucchini breaks down, becoming sweet and creamy, and merging with the rice.
- ¼ cup plus 2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
- ½ onion, finely diced
- 2 striato d’Italia or other medium zucchini, diced
- 2 garlic cloves, finely chopped
- 2 cups Arborio rice
- 6 cups vegetable broth or water, brought to a simmer
- 8 fresh basil leaves, cut into thin slivers
- Sea salt
- Freshly ground black pepper
- ½ cup freshly grated Grana Padano cheese
Heat the ¼ cup olive oil in a heavy-bottomed 2-quart saucepan over low heat. Add the onion and sauté slowly until soft. Add the zucchini and garlic, and briefly sauté over moderate heat, 2 to 3 minutes. Add the rice and stir until the rice is translucent, 1 to 2 minutes.
Add the hot broth to the rice mixture one ladleful at a time, stirring frequently. The rice should cook very slowly over low heat. Wait until the liquid is absorbed before adding the next ladleful of broth. Midway during cooking, add the basil and salt and pepper to taste.
When the risotto is al dente, Add the remaining 2 tablespoons olive oil and the cheese. Turn off the heat and stir briefly to combine. Serve immediately.
Nutritional information is based on using vegetable stock and includes no additional salt.