Use Up All That Zucchini - Caramelised Zucchini Risotto

Oooh, have I got a treat for you. I know that everyone in the Southern Hemisphere has about twelve kilograms of zucchini in their fridge right now, so today I have a recipe that will use up ONE AND A QUARTER KILOGRAMS of it at once (that is two and a half pounds for those of you in the North who are contemplating, in the chill days of Spring, planting way too many zucchini plants again, because you can't imagine not wanting to eat all that lovely, lovely green zucchini come Summer). Mind you, I am a zucchini junkie. I am the only person I know who is still gratefully accepting zucchini, at the same time as I harvest my own. I put it in everything, and grate it and freeze it for Winter. But even I enjoy using up great wodges of it at once in so delicious a fashion that everyone in the family asks for seconds.

This recipe is from Kay, from our Living Better With Less group. She brought along copies for us last year, along with rave reviews, but I didn't get to it before the end of last zucchini season, so it has been on my list of zucchini-related recipes to try this season. And oh, yes, it is a winner. Creamy, savoury, gentle on the digestion, it is the perfect comfort food.

A couple of notes before we dive into it - if you peel the zucchini, no-one will ever guess they are eating zucchini unless you tell them. Ideal for children and other family members who are a little over zucchini. If you don't peel them, you will need to chop them up into small chunks when you roast them. Still delicious, just with tell-tale flecks of green. My children watched me cook this and declared they were going to eat grilled cheese for dinner instead, but on trying it, wolfed it down, even though they could see zucchini skin. I think that says it all..

The recipe, like all risotto recipes, calls for arborio rice. I used sushi rice, because that was what was in the cupboard, and it worked just as well as arborio, and most importantly, is half the price of arborio. Win, win!

Caramelised Zucchini Risotto

11/4 kg (21/2 lbs) zucchini, peeled and quartered lengthways, or unpeeled and chopped into small chunks.
300g (11oz) onion, finely sliced
1/2 cup olive oil
2Tbs parsley, finely chopped
salt and ground pepper to taste
11/2 cups (360g, 13oz) arborio or sushi rice
6 cups beef, chicken or vegetable stock
200g (7oz) parmesan cheese, grated (I used boring old cheddar)

Toss zucchini, onion and parsley in an oven-proof dish with the oil, and roast at 180C (350F) for 11/2 hours. Vegetables should be slightly browned and caramelised and smelling delicious. I cooked mine along with dinner, put the roast veg in the fridge overnight, then made it into risotto the next night. Sometimes I amaze myself with my own efficiency.

Transfer to mixture to stovetop, stir in rice.

Bring stock to simmering point (yes, another saucepan, but with any luck it will be someone else's turn to do the dishes..), then use a ladle to slowly add the stock, continuously stirring, allowing the rice to absorb the stock before adding the next ladle-full. It takes about twenty minutes, and the end result should be creamy rather than dry.

Add the cheese and stir in, serve with more parsley.

Go back for seconds.

Jealously guard the left overs for lunch.

Thanks so much for this recipe Kay, it truly is a keeper.

All irreverent annotations are my own, and I do hope that if you cook it you will let me know, especially if you do any tweaking that makes it even better, although that is hard to imagine...


Unknown said…
I have some gorgeous yellow zukes at the moment. Almost fluro yellow, beautiful. If i can bring myself to cut them (stop taking photos and looking at them) ill put your recipe to the test. Yum Yum
Anonymous said…
You just gave me a recipe for this scrumptious prospective dinner and another blogger just handed me a recipe for gorgeous chocolate vegan brownies so now I FINALLY know how to use up those massive marrows on my kitchen table! I need the space for studying ;)
Jo said…
Lynda, first make Art, then make dinner:)

Fran, you really should start cooking for the sake of your education! I am hearing you - my kitchen bench and dining room sideboard is completely covered with plums, apples, pears and tomatoes, all begging to be preserved before it is too late.. Aargh!
Mimi said…
Uh-huh. I am soooooo making this. Zucchini AND risotto. Yup. I'm there. Mimi xxx
Bek said…
Looks fab! I am totally doing this.
Also, trombonico zucchinis are a lovely light green colour that disappear into dishes, no extra peeling required. So much easier to hide!
Jo said…
Mimi, I am sure you could make yours look so much more elegant than I did:)

Bek, I will be looking into trombonico zucchinis for next year then. I have never met a zucchini I don't like (not that I ever peel them. I tell the children that the green is where all the vitamins are..)...actually, are patty pan squash in the zucchini family? I must admit to not liking them very much.
Annabel said…
This is really impressive! I will try it. I have been a bit intimidated by risotto but I will follow how you did it.Thank you.xx
Anonymous said…
Mmm, all that effort for soggy rice? I do have a lazy way to use up zuccs. Wash, roughly slice. Put in oven baking tray with lots chopped fresh basil and coat in olive oil. Bake for a while. Add a tonne of grated Parmesan and more chopped fresh basil and extra olive oil. Bake some more until yummy. Mix it around s couple of times to keep zuccs coated. Yummy as a side dish. And that's from someone who doesn't much like zuccs. (That'd be me. So rice porridge with zuccs. Sorry, I don't believe you.)
Jo said…
Annabel, I had never made risotto until my then 13yo made it at school last year and insisted on making one for us at home, which was delicious!
So I was shamed into giving it a go on my own!

Lucinda lovey, yes, I absolutely shared your misgivings. Zucchini rice porridge doesn't sound delicious at all. You'll just have to trust me on this one!
However, your zuke dish has me salivating already. It is totally on the list for this week:)
my zuke plants are at the end of their life, I may not have that much zucchini left, but I still like the sound of this recipe. printed for the weekend!

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