Risotto (riss-oh-toh) is an Italian-style preparation of rice cooked in broth. It’s wonderfully starchy and creamy and comforting, and it’s great with fresh vegetables such as zucchini mixed in. This version has little bursts of flavor from herbs and sun-dried tomatoes. All-around delicious! Serve as a side with grilled chicken or salmon.
Risotto requires special starchy short-grain or medium-grain rice to create the creamy sauce. Probably the most common and easiest to find type of risotto rice is Arborio rice. Arborio rice is available at larger grocery stores, most likely in the ethnic/Asian food aisle. If you need to eat gluten-free, you should use Arborio rice that’s specified as gluten-free, since often grains are processed with wheat and are cross-contaminated. Bello Arborio Risotto Rice is sold as gluten-free. It’s available at Gourmet Import Shop (go to Amazon.com or gourmetimportshop.com).
Seasoned, oil-packed sun-dried tomatoes are delicious in this dish. You can find them in bottles at larger grocery stores, possibly near canned tomatoes. Dry ones may be available in cellophane bags in the produce section. You can also dry your own peeled, seeded tomatoes in a very low oven or food dehydrator. To use the dried type, soften by pouring boiling water to cover, and then let them stand about 15 minutes.
This recipe is dairy-free, but you can add grated Parmesan cheese just before serving if you like.
- 4 cups broth (chicken or vegetable)
- 2 teaspoons butter
- 1 1/3 cups uncooked Arborio rice
- 1 medium zucchini (about 6-inch, or 5 ounces), ends trimmed off, quartered lengthwise and thinly sliced
- 6 sun-dried tomatoes, diced
- 1 teaspoon dried thyme, crushed, or 2 teaspoons fresh thyme leaves, chopped
- 1 tablespoon chopped fresh basil leaves, chopped (optional)
- 1/4 cup grated Parmesan cheese (optional)
- Black pepper to taste
- In a large saucepan over medium high heat, bring broth to a boil, then reduce heat to a low simmer.
- In a large heavy-bottom skillet, melt butter over medium heat. Add rice and cook about 2 minutes, stirring often, until lightly toasted. Ladle in about 1 cup hot broth and stir often until liquid is mostly absorbed. Continue to ladle in broth, 1 cup at a time, and stir often until liquid is mostly absorbed. Repeat until rice is still slightly firm but cooked through. If you like it softer but have used up the broth, heat some water in the saucepan and stir it in 1/2 cup at a time. This process takes 20 to 30 minutes.
- When rice is almost the firmness or softness you like, add zucchini, sun-dried tomatoes, and thyme. Just before serving, stir in optional basil and 3 tablespoons Parmesan cheese. Serve sprinkled with remaining cheese and black pepper, if desired.
(Recipe adapted from allrecipes.com.)