A Spring Risotto

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Another simple spring recipe which is among our favourites: a delicate risotto with fresh vegetables, rich in flavour and colour.

Apron-to-dish time: 30 minutes. It could take less, but hurry does not become a risotto.

For 4 servings:

  • one zucchini per person
  • half an onion per person
  • 300g of rice Vialone nano, or Carnaroli, or Arborio (no parboiled rice)
  • two or three cherry or date tomatoes per person; as ripe as they get but not gone soft
  • one glass of white wine
  • 30g of butter
  • 50g of grated parmesan
  • 1l vegetable broth

Put water and a stock cube on the fire or vegetable broth, if you have it. You’ll need it to boiling point.

prepare 50g of parmesan and 30g of butter
prepare 50g of parmesan and 30g of butter

Also, prepare 50g of grated parmesan and 30g of butter.

Use the best fresh veggies you can get
Use the best fresh veggies you can get

Make sure you get the best fresh veggies you can get. this risotto has a very delicate taste. If the veggies aren’t tasty, neither will be the risotto. I love to repeat that Italian cuisine is about ingredients, more than process.

Sauté the onion, the toss in the rice and zucchini. Hold the tomatoes!Th
Sauté the onion, the toss in the rice and zucchini

Mince the onion very finely, and put in a pot (earthware is best) with two tablespoonfuls of olive oil. Give it a lively heat and stir gently every now and then until the onion becomes almost translucent.

While the onion cooks, dice the zucchini and the tomatoes. Once the onion is translucent, toss in the zucchini (not the tomatoes) and the rice. Stir for three or four minutes, until the rice loses most of its opacity and becomes slightly golden.

Toss in the diced tomatoes and cover with vegetable broth
Toss in the diced tomatoes and cover with vegetable broth

Once the rice has become slightly golden and almost translucent, pour the white wine and let evaporate while stirring gently.

Once there is no more identifiable liquid wine in the pot (there may be a little sauce), throw in the tomatoes, and cover with hot broth. Lower the flame to a gentle simmer. Keep adding broth so that the rice is always covered with liquid. Stir very gently every couple of minutes, just to make sure it does not stick. Keep the mix very liquid for the first ten minutes.

After the first ten minutes, start adding less and less broth to compensate for the evaporation. The idea is to always have free liquid in the pot, so the rice can cook, but not so much that it requires more than a couple of minutes to evaporate.

After 18 minutes, the rice is cooked. Throw in the parmesan and butter, stir gently until they amalgamate, the put a lid on the pot and let rest for 5 minutes. This is called “mantecare” (an Italian verb from the Spanish word meaning “butter”, literally ” to make butter-y, as the rice will acquire the softness of soft butter).

After cooking the rice, add butter and cheese and let rest for 5 minutes... Ready!
After cooking the rice, add butter and cheese and let rest for 5 minutes… Ready!

And there you are, after 5 minutes serve and enjoy!


How about frozen, sliced zucchini? And canned tomatoes? Why not. I you absolutely cannot get hold of even greenhouse vegetables, frozen is still better than nothing. Having a spring-looking dish can be worthwhile during of a long winter, so go for it. Just note that frozen zucchini will tend to liquefy, so put them in the pot when you put the tomatoes.


    • thanks Sherly, as I always say, preferring veg meals does not imply eating bland food…
      let us know how it works out for you and friends!

    • Hi Julia, glad you like risotto, it’s one of my favourite and, come fall, I will be posting more of them. Let us know how the recipe turns out for you, ok?

  1. I’ve recently got really into risottos. I’d assumed they were really difficult but it turns out that they’re not. Thanks for sharing this recipe. Also, thankyou very much for visting my blog – I’m glad it meant I got to see yours in return.

    • Hi gillbla, glad you like risottos. As everything in cooking, it’s only difficult until you try. Keep up the passion!

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