Balsamic Risotto with Zucchini

This is the summertime go-to recipe for our balsamic producer, Mariangela. But don’t worry, even when zucchini are not in season, you can adapt this recipe to any bright and sweet greens you can find at your green market. Asparagus, broccoli, cauliflower, peas, fava beans: regardless of vegetable choice, the only must-do of this recipe is using greens with fresh/fragrant flavors that keep a crunchy texture when sautéed in balsamic.

Ingredients

SERVES: 5 people
TIME: 40 minutes

2 cups of Vialone Nano rice
4 medium-size zucchini (about 800 gr/28 oz), cut into 1/2 inch cubes
1 onion (about 140 gr/5 oz),  finely chopped
4 cups of vegetable stock
1/2 cup of white wine
1 cup of grated Vacche Rosse cheese
2 tablespoons Balsamic Saba 6
Traditional Balsamic Vinegar of Modena
4 tablespoons of EVOO
2 tablespoons of butter
Black pepper
Sea salt
2 tablespoons minced fresh parsley leaves

Preparation

  1. Bring vegetable stock to a simmer and keep it covered.
  2. In a separate pot, sauté on medium-low heat the onion in 3 tablespoons of extra virgin olive oil until translucent  (3-4 minutes).
  3. Add 1/2 of zucchini cubes, sprinkle some salt and black pepper, and cook for about 5 minutes.
  4. Toss the rice in and increase the heat to medium-high. Stir and toast the grains for a few minutes, then pour the white wine.
  5. Once the wine is reduced, add 2 cups of vegetable stock to the rice and cook on medium heat, stirringly occasionally, until the broth reduces by 2/3 (about 10 minutes).
  6. While risotto is cooking, sauté in a separate pan the remaining zucchini cubes with Balsamic Saba 6 and 1 tablespoon of EVOO on high heat. 
  7. Cook zucchini for about 5 minutes, making sure they stay crunchy. Adjust with salt and pepper. 
  8. Continue to pour the stock into the rice, now a laddle at a time, waiting until each addition laddle has been absorbed before adding the next one. Keep on gently stirring.
  9. At the end of cooking (around 20 minutes in total) turn off the fire and add butter and grated cheese. Stir until butter is melted.
  10. Let the risotto rest covered for 5 minutes before serving.
  11. Finish each plate with some crunchy agrodolce zucchini cubes and about 15 drops of Traditional Balsamic Vinegar.