This risotto has been a real CED favourite in 2022! Zucchini have been abundant in our garden recently, and their fresh and sweet flavour creates a beautiful risotto.
We like to keep the main ingredients in a risotto fairly simple. In this instance, we focus on zucchini, which we want to celebrate and taste really clearly!
We finish it by stirring in just a little lemon zest and mint, which marry beautifully with zucchini. Then for a few extra flavour hits you can add some delicious garnishes. In this case crispy, salty and savoury prosciutto, plus a little indulgent straciatella.
The prosciutto is super easy to prepare - just pop it in a hot oven on some baking paper and you'll have ultra-delicious cured ham crisps in no time! Just be careful not to cook it too long as it will burn easily.
Equally moreish is straciatella, which is essentially the centre of the burrata. That means buffalo mozzarella and cream...need I say more!
The zucchini are simply grated into the risotto as it cooks. We prefer the light skinned ones as they are less bitter; and choose the younger, smaller zucchini as they will have more sweetness than the big watery ones.
If you have time, making your own stock will make a difference too. Simply boil up some carrot, onion and celery and other veg trimmings in a big pan of water with a little salt. A few cloves of garlic and some parsley stalks will be great too. It's also a good way of using up any sad looking vegetables or herbs in the bottom of your fridge!
Finally, make sure you use good quality rice. We cook with the carnaroli from our friends at the nearby Tenuta San Carlo!
Recipe: Zucchini Risotto with Crispy Prosciutto and Straciatella
- 300g risotto rice - Carnaroli or Vialoni Nano varieties are best
- 2 small/medium onions, finely diced
- 4 small/medium zucchini, grated
- 1 large glass dry white wine
- 3 tbsp of extra virgin olive oil
- 2 large tbsp butter
- 3 litres hot vegetable stock
- A few handfuls of grated Parmesan cheese
- A few large pinches of chopped fresh parsley and mint
- Zest of half a lemon
- 4 slices of prosciutto
- Straciatella, to garnish
- Salt, to season
- Lay the prosciutto on a baking tray lined with baking paper and roast in a hot oven for around 10-15 minutes, or until the prosciutto becomes dark, crispy and delicious! Set aside
- Fry the onion in the oil on a medium heat for 5-10 minutes, until the onion is soft all the way through and translucent, but not browned. Add the rice and toast in the pan with the oil and onion for a few minutes. Pour in the wine, and cook, stirring, until it has evaporated and there’s no more liquid.
- Add a couple of ladles of hot stock and stir into the rice. Cook the risotto on a medium heat, stirring regularly, and once the stock has mostly been absorbed, add a few more ladles. Repeat this process for around 15 minutes until the rice is almost cooked. Add the grated zucchini around five minutes into this process.
- As the rice nears ‘cookedness’, add the stock in smaller amounts so you can check the rice regularly and ensure it doesn’t overcook. It’s ready when the risotto is creamy, but the inside of the grain still has a little bite. You don’t want the finished risotto to be too dry so make sure there is a good amount of sauce at the end of the process - it will thicken further when we add the butter and cheese.
- Take the risotto off the heat and rest for 1 minute. (If it’s too hot when you start the next stage it could split). Add the butter, cheese, zest and herbs and mix vigorously, shaking the pan as you do so. This process will make the risotto ultra creamy as the whole mixture emulsifies, and the air cools and thickens the melting butter and cheese. Season well with salt.
- Garnish with the crispy prosciutto - break it up a bit and scatter over. Finally, spoon over a little straciatella. Enjoy!