Zucchini Flower Risotto

Zucchini flower season is in full bloom!  As fritters or stuffed, they are a delicious appetizer or snack, but this delicate orange flower can be prepared in plentiful ways, as the star of the meal, and way beyond the deep fryer.   I learned how to make this risotto from my Zia Concetta, on her farm in Torino, Italy.  It’s taken me a few attempts at figuring out measurements (since she of course uses none) and deciding upon ingredients (most of which are fresh from the garden).  The aroma during preparation and taste during dinner take me right back to her kitchen.  Buon Apetito!IMG_3087i.n.g.r.e.d.i.e.n.t.i. (ingredients)

1 cup Risotto (I prefer il riso Beretta Vialone Nano)

4 cups vegetable broth (I used Porcini mushroom flavor)

3 tbsp. butter

2 tbsp. extra-virgin olive oil

1/4 cup white wine

1 small yellow onion, minced

1 small red onion, minced

1 small zucchini, quartered and sliced

4 basil leaves, chiffonade

1/4 cup fresh parsley, chopped

1 cup chopped zucchini flowers

Pinch of black pepper

p.r.o.c.e.d.a.m.e.n.t.i. (directions)

Begin by boiling 4 cups water in a medium saucepan and adding vegetable bouillon.  I use (3) Star Porcini Mushroom flavored cubes (you can find this in Italian specialty stores).   IMG_3089In a large skillet with deep sides, melt the butter and add the yellow and red onion until soft.  Add the zucchini and flowers and sauté over medium-high until slightly browned.  IMG_3090 IMG_3091photoAdd the broth, the white wine, pepper, and parsley (the broth adds all the salt you need).  When it comes to a rapid boil, add the risotto.  Allow to cook, uncovered, over medium-high heat, for about 20 minutes and the liquid has evaporated.  This nano risotto cooks faster and when cooked, plumps to double the size.  If using traditional, longer/larger risotto, add an additional cup of broth and 30 minutes additional cooking time.  IMG_3093When most of the liquid has evaporated, and about 5 minutes before removing from heat, add the basil chiffonade.  Mix gently.  Serve. Top with a light sprinkle of finely chopped parsley or basil or shaved Parmiggiano Reggiano.  Or get cray and add all three!  Enjoy!IMG_3094 IMG_3103

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