Wednesday, June 6, 2012

It's Easy Being Green

Pesto Risotto with Roasted Zucchini

There are a ton of pictures today, so I'm gonna keep the written portion of this post short and sweet. Once again, I've found a fantastic recipe on the Post Punk Kitchen. My last experience with them was the recipe I blogged about here. Those curry fries were a hit, and I had several folks email me that they tried them and loved them!

Today's recipe, Pesto Risotto with Roasted Zucchini will be entered into the  (fictitious) *From Scratch Hall of Fame. It's creamy and flavorful, and doesn't require a lot of ingredients.

Short-grained arborio rice is toasted in a pan and then coaxed into creamy perfection by layering in pesto and vegetable broth. Top it off with simply prepared roasted zucchini that's been tossed in salt, pepper, garlic and EVOO, and you have an amazing dish. Enjoy!

Pesto Risotto with Roasted Zucchini
Cast of Characters: Fresh zucchini, onion, arborio rice, pesto, vegetable broth or bouillon, salt, pepper and olive oil (not pictured: garlic).
Warm broth or bouillon cubes.

Add diced onion, evoo, s/p to pan. Saute until onions are translucent.
Add the rice to the pan and toast up the rice. Add white wine here if you want (I didn't have any so I skipped that step). 

Start gradually adding the warm broth and stirring until it's absorbed. You do this cupful by cupful, not all the broth at the same time.

Once half of the broth is absorbed, add half of your pesto and stir it in. Layering great flavor!

Keep stirring and adding the broth. Mr.*From Scratch leant a hand when my arm got tired:-)

When the broth is gone, add the last of the pesto and do a taste test. If the rice is still crunchy, add a little more warm water or heat up some more broth. We had to heat up one more bouillon cube b/c ours was a little crunchy. In retrospect, I think this is because I skipped adding the white wine.
Whilst you are preparing the risotto, cut up your zucchini, toss with s/p, evoo and garlic. Roast in the oven for about 10-15 minutes.
Layer some rice in a bowl and top with the roasted zucchini. I added some fresh tomatoes for garnish.  I fully intended on garnishing with parmesan cheese but once I tasted the dish, it needed absolutely NOTHING else. It was perfect!
Recipe From The Post Punk Kitchen:

For the risotto:
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 medium yellow onion, finely chopped

1 1/2 cups arborio rice
1 cup dry white wine
4 cups or so vegetable broth
3/4 cup pesto (I recommend Bestest Pesto, it makes plenty)
1/2 teaspoon salt (more or less depending on how salty your broth and pesto are, so taste for salt often)
Fresh black pepper
For the zucchini:
1 lb zucchini, cut on on a bias into chunky half moons
1 tablespoon olive oil
1/2 teaspoon salt
Fresh black pepper
3 cloves garlic, minced
Extra toasted pinenuts
Extra pesto for drizzling
Warm the vegetable broth in a saucepan. Keep it warm on the lowest setting possible as you prepare the risotto.
Preheat the oven to 425 F for the zucchini, and have ready a large rimmed baking sheet lined with parchment paper.
Now let’s make the risotto! Preheat a heavy-bottomed 4 quart pot over medium heat. Sauté the onion in oil and a pinch of salt until translucent, 4 to 5 minutes.
Add the rice and use a wooden spoon to stir and coat with oil. Add the white wine and stir occasionally, until wine is mostly absorbed, 4 minutes or so. Add a few dashes fresh black pepper, and half of the salt. Turn the heat down just a bit to medium-low.
Add the broth by the cupful, stirring the risotto after each addition until the broth is mostly absorbed (6 to 8 minutes). After 2 cupfuls, add about half of the pesto and stir well, then continue to cook, adding broth by the cupful, stirring, and letting the liquid absorb.
At some point in there, your oven will be preheated. Toss the zucchini with oil, salt, pepper and garlic. Roast for about 6 minutes on each side, or until softened and lightly browned. Remove from oven and set aside.
With your last addition of broth, add the remainder of the pesto. Taste for salt and add the other 1/4 teaspoon if needed. Risotto is ready when the rice is chewy but still firm, and the sauce is very creamy. For a firmer risotto, just cook a few minutes extra to absorb more of the liquid.
To serve: scoop risotto into each bowl, and top with zucchini. Drizzle with extra pesto and garnish with a few toasted pine nuts.
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Not only is this dish delish, it's vegetarian, vegan and gluten free. Can it get any better? Let me know what YOU think of this pesto powerhouse.


  1. just wanted you to know, i made the hubby pick up some zucchini at the market today...gonna try this weekend :) LOVE GFS, par usual <3

  2. I hope you LOVE it. Do you need some rice? I bought a family-size container that will take a year to get through.