Pesto zucchini brown rice risotto
Pesto is such a natural flavor pairing with risotto, it’s a wonder I haven’t posted about this before. I call for a 1/4 cup of pesto here, but use your own judgment, based on the strength of the pesto you’re using (homemade will be far more flavorful than jarred). Two tablespoons might be plenty, or a 1/2 cup might hit the mark better.
2 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil, plus extra extra as needed
1 small zucchini, grated
1 small shallot, minced
1 cup short grain brown rice
1/2 cup dry white wine, plus a splash extra
5-6 cups vegetable stock
1/4 cup prepared basil pesto
1/2 cup Parmesan cheese, freshly grated
Heat the vegetable stock in a medium sauce pan over medium until it simmers. Lower heat and keep warm.
In a large sauté pan or deep skillet, heat 2 tablespoons olive oil until shimmering. Add zucchini, a splash of the white wine, and a big pinch of salt. Sauté for 5-6 minutes, until the zucchini soft and aromatic. Remove zucchini from the skillet to a plate, and set aside.
Pour in a bit of additional oil, if necessary – the bottom of the pan should have a very shallow coating of oil. Add the shallots to the pan and sauté for several minutes until soft. Add the rice and stir well to mix and coat with oil. Pour in the white wine and cook until most of it has evaporated.
Ladle 1/2 cup stock into the rice along. Stir the rice frequently until the stock has been absorbed. Add another half cup, and repeat, allowing the stock to be absorbed, stirring frequently, before adding the next half cup. (Note, the standard ladle holds 1/2 cup of liquid.) Keep the heat steady – the stock should come to a simmer in the rice.
The rice will be ready when it’s plump and ad dente – this will take about 50 to 60 minutes. During the last half hour, the rice will absorb the stock at a much faster rate, requiring more frequent stirring and more frequent stock additions. You might not use all of the stock, or you might need more (use hot water as a quick substitute), depending on the heat of the pan.
Stir in the pesto and Parmesan cheese and mix well. Finally, add in the zucchini. Taste and season with salt, if necessary. Serve hot.