Burnt Courgette Risotto with Basil Oil

Risotto is a serious guilty pleasure. It’s not exactly the type of food you want to eat if you’re terribly concerned about your waistline. Not every day at least. So I try to keep my risotto consumption down to every few months.

What I love about risotto (other than it’s tasty tasty taste) is the enjoyable and relaxing process of making it. Some people might find it an intimidating dish to master, but I think I’ve got it down; at this point I no longer use a recipe when I make it and if you follow this recipe eventually you’ll be a risotto beast too!

The best way to eat risotto is with mushrooms. I LOVE that, but I try to change it up and last week I made it with zucchini/courgette, a homemade basil oil and of course some toasted pine nuts. Heavenly!

What you’ll need:

  • One large yellow onion (chopped)
  • 3 cloves of garlic
  • about a quarter to half a cup of white wine (optional but opt in on this one)
  • At least 4 cups of hot veg or chicken stock
  • 2 tablespoons of butter
  • One cup(ish) of arborio rice
  • Lots of grated parm
  • 2 courgettes
  • A handful of fresh basil
  • One lemon
  • Pine nuts

What to do:

In a  large frying pan or wok, heat up a small amount of oil on high heat, and fry the courgette chunks until they’re crispy and a bit burnt. Remove them from the frying pan to a bowl or plate, you’ll use them later.

In a small frying pan, with no oil, toast your pine nuts on medium heat, shaking the pan constantly so that they don’t burn. When the nuts are golden remove from heat and from the pan or they’ll burn.

In the same frying pan, heat up the butter and sauté your onion until it’s soft and  translucent. Add the rice and toast it lightly for about a minute until its coated with the butter. Add the wine and it should hiss–stir until the wine is absorbed.

Then, using a ladle or a measuring cup (1/2 cup) ladle in one scoop of hot stock at a time, stir continuously, until all the liquid is absorbed and repeat this until the risotto is swollen and soft. You’ll be able to tell by just tasting a grain and when it’s cooked through you’re ready. Turn the heat off and stir in at least half a cup of grated parmesan. Then, fold in the courgettes.  Grate the lemon zest into the risotto as well. Season with salt and pepper until you’re loving the taste.

Using a mortar and pestle, take about a handful of basil leaves and 3 tablespoons of olive oil a squeeze of lemon juice and grind until you have a nice little oily paste.

Serve the risotto and drizzle the basil oil on top, sprinkle a bit more fresh parm and pine nuts over the bowl and you’re ready to serve!

Enjoy this luxurious bowl of yum with a fresh green salad!


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