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Marcella's Zucchini Risotto, with Zucchini Flowers

Last night I made, for the first time, Marcella's Zucchini Risotto, which calls for sauteeing 1/2 inch rounds of zucchini with minced onions and garlic for about 25 minute before adding the rice. I was a bit surprised at the suggestion to use the rounds - even though I had some nice small zucchini, and next time would probably slice the zucchini in half lengthwise first. I used diluted home made chicken stock instead of beef broth. While my husband "manned" the risotto for the last ten minutes, I made her batter (1/2 cup water, 1/3 cup flour, sifted into the water while you stir with a fork) for the zucchini flowers and fried them. I served them on top of the risotto, along with some slices of the unfried flowers as well. It was really delicious - loved the zucchini "three ways" - served it with some slices of heirloom tomatoes on the side.

Edit - forgot to mention that, for an appetizer tonight, I'm going to take some leftover risotto (well, my husband might not call it leftover - had to wrest it from him) and stuff a little into the remaining zucchini flowers and fry them.

 
 
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  1. Gorgeous! Thank you for the mouthwatering photos!

    Which cookbook is the recipe from?

    3 Replies
    1. re: rose water

      The basic risotto recipe is from Essentials of Italian Cooking, as the recipe for the batter (it's in a zucchini recipe in the vegetable section). I came up w/ adding the fresh and fried zucchini flowers.

      1. re: MMRuth

        Lovely (not to mention drool inducing). I imagine the flowers add a lovely textural contrast and fresh floral note. It's getting chilly, and this sounds like a lovely cozy, warm dinner. Thanks!

        1. re: rose water

          Oops - that should be Essentials of Classic Italian Cooking.

    2. Beautiful pictures! (if this post shows up twice, blame it on chowhound) I went back to look to see if I could see the zucchini, and the first post disappeard.
      I was wondering since her recipes usually require a little more patience and time, did you remove the zucchini and then cook the risotto, or was it in there all along? Sorry if that is a stupid question, I don't normally cook the zucchini that long. Love, love risotto!

      8 Replies
      1. re: chef chicklet

        I know - I was surprised at cooking the zucchini that long, but I did the full 25 minutes and then you leave it in the pot as you make the risotto itself - and it wasn't gooey or anything.

        1. re: MMRuth

          i am really having some posting problems over here in CA. Again if this comes up twice....

          I love zuchinni and the idea of wonderful succulent bite of risotto mmmmmmm!!!
          Would you have time to paraphrase?

          1. re: chef chicklet

            So far - no double posts!

            I'll dig up the recipe for you and post a bit later .... do you want me to include what I did w/ the zucchini flowers?

            1. re: MMRuth

              Yes!
              When you get a chance, sure, I need to go to TJ and get the blossoms to make that part.
              Was that your idea? I am so impressed! It all looks so beautifully tied together. I love the zucchini done 3 ways!

              1. re: chef chicklet

                Yes - my idea was adding the fried flowers and raw flowers - will post recipe tonight.

                1. re: MMRuth

                  Thank you so much! Not only for me but I entertain, and this is just perfect for my vegetarian friends too, I love having special recipes like this just for them. An entree not a side dish.

                  1. re: chef chicklet

                    Hi - sorry I didn't get around to it last night. Recipe paraphrased:

                    6 medium or 4 small zucchini
                    2T vegetable oil
                    3T coarsely chopped onion
                    1/2 tsp finely chopped garlic
                    Salt
                    5 cups broth
                    2T butter
                    2C arborio rice
                    Freshly ground black pepper
                    1/2 cup freshly grated parmesan
                    1T chopped parsley

                    1. Cut zucchini into 1/2 inch disks.
                    2. Put oil and onion in pot over med heat and cook until onion is translucent, add garlic. When garlic is lightly colored, add zucchini and turn heat down to med. low.
                    3. Cook 10 minutes, turning zucchini occasionally. Add a pinch of salt and cook until zucchini is a rich brown color, around 15 minutes more.
                    4. Add 1T butter to zucchini, turn heat to high, add rice, and proceed to make risotto as you normally would, adding the parmesan, then the remaining T butter, ground pepper, salt if needed and parsley.

                    Zucchini flowers - make a batter using 1 cup water and 2/3 cup flour, by adding the flour gradually through a sieve and stirring it with a fork until it has the consistency of sour cream. Heat oil (I use vegetable oil - about 3/4 inch) until it shimmers (that's what I do these days since I can't seem to find my thermometer), coat the flowers well, add to oil and cook until a light golden brown. Drain on paper towels - sprinkle with salt and parmesan if you like.

                    Enjoy!

                    1. re: MMRuth

                      MMMM!
                      Sounds pretty easy, thank you for writing it down. And the flowers are the kicker, just a beautiful touch.