Zucchini Risotto with Basil

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Andrea Meyers - Zucchini Risotto

Zucchini season will soon come to an end, but there’s still time to enjoy this icon of the summer garden. We’ve made salads, pasta, bread, gratins, and all sorts of things with zucchini, even though it was a sad zucchini year for us after losing all our zucchini plants to garden pests.

Risotto is comfort food for me anytime of the year no matter what I put into it, and this one with zucchini and our fresh homegrown basil and garlic does not disappoint. The Grana Padano cheese adds a slightly nutty yet delicate flavor that is worth the search, but you can also substitute Parmigiano Reggiano if you can’t find Grana Padano. The recipe is adapted from My Italian Garden, by Viana La Place (in my personal collection), a lovely little book with watercolor illustrations based on cooking from her own Italian garden in San Francisco. The book is divided into seasons, making it perfect for cooking with seasonal produce.

Grow Your Own logo This is my contribution to Grow Your Own, the blogging event that celebrates the dishes we create from foods we’ve grown, raised, foraged, or hunted ourselves. Praveen of Masala Heaven is our host for this round, so be sure to visit her blog for more information about submitting your post. If you are new to the event, you can read more about the rules for participating at the Grow Your Own page. I hope you will join us!

Andrea Meyers - Zucchini Risotto ingredients


Adapted from My Italian Garden, by Viana La Place.

Makes about 4 to 6 servings.


3-quart sauce pan with heavy bottom
2-quart sauce pan
box grater (optional)


6 cups (1.44 liters) vegetable broth or water
1/4 cup + 2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
1/2 medium yellow onion, finely diced
2 medium zucchini or striato d’Italia, diced (I grated them.)
2 cloves garlic, finely chopped
2 cups (360 g) Arborio rice
8 fresh basil leave, chiffonade
sea salt, to taste
fresh ground black pepper, to taste
1/2 cup freshly grated Grana Padano cheese (You can substitute Parmesan if necessary.)


1. In the 2-quart sauce pan, bring the vegetable broth to a simmer. Keep it hot but not boiling.

2. In the 3-quart sauce pan, heat 1/4 cup olive oil over low heat. Add the onion and sauté slowly until soft. Add the zucchini and garlic and sauté over medium heat for 2 to 3 minutes. Add the rice and stir until the rice is translucent, about 1 to 2 minutes.

3. Reduce temperature to low. Add the hot broth to the rice mixture one ladleful at a time, stirring frequently. Wait until the liquid is absorbed before adding the next ladleful of broth. Midway during cooking, add the basil and salt and pepper to taste. Continue cooking until all the broth has been added.

4. Test the risotto to make sure it’s al dente, but not too hard. If it’s still a little crunchy, add a ladleful of water and continue stirring. When risotto is ready, remove from heat and stir in the remaining 2 tablespoons of olive oil and the Grana Padano cheese. Serve immediately.

Other Italian Recipes

Andrea Meyers - Italian Grilled Eggplant Cakes Andrea Meyers - Classic Spaghetti Carbonara Andrea Meyers - Chocolate Hazelnut Biscotti

More Zucchini Recipes From Around the Blogs

Simply Recipes – Zucchini Breakfast Casserole

Karina’s Kitchen – Pesto Zucchini Tomato Gratin

Wasibomon – Light Zucchini Hummus

A Veggie Venture – Eight Ball Stuffed Zucchini


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  1. says

    Very nice! I just posted almost the same dish on my blog 2 day ago, only my basil was purple. And everything was homegrown – onion, cucchini, basil and even garlic.

  2. says

    Like the new(er?) portrait shot. Am inspired by the risotto recipe. Now that temps have finally dropped here (relatively speaking anyway) I am thrilled to consider the addition of some warm comfort foods in our dinner roundup. With zuke leftover from a bread baking project, this might be just the ticket to use it up in an unexpected way. Thanks for sharing.

  3. Sam@BingeNYC says

    Yum – I am such a sucker for a good risotto. And if I can use up some of these zucchini? I’m in. Looks delicious.

  4. says

    I love risottos! My favorite way is to make them in my pressure cooker. This recipe looks intriguing – for some reason, I would not have thought to put basil in, but now that I read it, it sounds perfect.

    BTW, love the new blog design, I would love to hear more about how it came to be! Maybe I will see you at BlogHer Food?


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