summer vegetable risotto

Summertime vegetables are in full swing, which means that I’ve been trying to incorporate them into our meals as much as I can. We had a slightly rainy day where the temperatures fell from the 90s into the 70s, which felt cold in comparison,  so I decided that it would be a perfect time to make some risotto. I cut up a bunch of vegetables that I had on hand, which ended up being a great mix for this dish. I wanted the vegetables to be slightly cooked and still crisp so I lightly sauteed them and then removed them before starting the rice. I added the veggies back in once the rice was fully cooked to warm them back up. This allowed the vegetables be the true stars of the meal and not have them turn into a pile of mush. The lemon and chives add a great bright flavor that adds to the summery-ness of this dish.
Summer Vegetable Risotto
Ingredients:
  • 1 zucchini, cut in half and sliced 
  • 1 summer squash, cut in half and sliced
  • 3/4 cup peas // If they are frozen cook them, but if they are fresh then you can just throw them in at the end
  • 3/4 lb asparagus, sliced into 1 1/2″ slices
  • 1/2 cup sliced shallots
  • 6-8 cups chicken or vegetable stock
  • lemon zest and juice from 1 lemon
  • 1/4 cup grated pecorino romano or parmesan 
  • 1 cup arborio rice
  • 1/2 cup white wine //I used a sauvgion blanc, but a pinot grigio would work too
  • 2 tbsp olive oil 
  • fresh chives, chopped
  • salt and pepper

Directions:

  1. In a medium pot, bring the chicken stock to a simmer. Turn down the heat so it remains at a simmer.
  2. In a large pot, heat the olive oil. Add in the asparagus and sprinkle lightly with salt. Cook for a couple of minutes. Add in the zucchini and squash. Stir and cook until slightly soft but still crisp. Remove with a slotted spoon, leaving the oil.
  3. If there is less than 2 tbsp of oil left, add in some more olive oil. Add in the shallots and cook until slightly softened but not browned. Add the rice to the shallots and cook stirring frequently until the edges are slightly translucent, or for about 2 minutes. Pour in the wine, and stir until the wine has been absorbed. This should take about 2 to 4 minutes.
  4. Turn the heat down to medium-low. Add in about 1 to 1 1/2 cup of hot chicken stock. [I use my ladle, which I think is somewhere between 1 to 1 1/2 cup] Stir occasionally until the chicken stock has been absorbed. If you run your spoon through the rice, you should be able to see the bottom of the pot.
  5. Repeat adding stock, and stirring until it is absorbed until the rice is al-dente. This should take 20 to 40 minutes. You don’t want the rice to be soggy or over saturated. If you have any leftover stock, you can refreeze it.
  6. Add the vegetables back to the pot and add one final ladle full of chicken stock. Stir until absorbed.
  7. Remove from heat, add in salt, pepper, lemon zest, and cheese. Stir to combine. Add in lemon juice. Stir again. Taste for seasonings and adjust. I find that risotto needs a lot more salt that you would think; the rice absorbs a lot of it.
  8. Serve piping hot with a little cheese and chives sprinkled on top.

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