I’ve discovered a genius recipe for Zucchini Risotto. Last night, it resulted in both Phil and Jaye eating squash. And liking it. To be fair, I didn’t really “discover” it. The recipe is a thing of lore among the Moms Group ladies at my church. Many a time, I’ve heard one mom or the other mention, “Oh, I’m making Erin’s Zucchini Risotto for dinner tonight.” And finally, I tried it.
And it lived up to the lore. It’s the best zucchini risotto. And the best oven-baked risotto. And the best vegetable-hiding, get-your-kids-to-eat-vegetables risotto. That’s a lot of “bests.” I probably best get to the point and tell you the recipe.
- 2 TBSP olive oil
- 3/4 lb chicken sausage, or left over roasted chicken (optional)
- 1 small yellow onion, finely diced
- 1 cup Arborio or short grain white rice
- 2 – 5 cups zucchini, finely diced
- 1-2 cloves garlic
- 16 oz. reduced-sodium chicken or vegetable broth
- 3/4 cup grated Parmesan cheese, divided
- Basil and/or other Italian herbs to taste
- Salt and pepper to taste
- Preheat the oven to 400 degrees.
- Heat 1 TBSP oil over medium heat in a medium oven-safe heavy saucepan or a small Dutch oven. Brown sausage. Remove from pan and set aside.
- Add 1 TBSP oil, then onions and sauté them for 3 – 4 minutes until they are translucent.
- Add the rice, stirring to coat with the oil, then add the squash, and cook it for about 1 minute.
- Add the broth and bring it to a simmer, raising the heat if necessary.
- Stir in half the cheese and herbs, and sprinkle the remaining cheese on top.
- Cover the pot and put it in the center of the oven. Bake it for 20 – 25 minutes until the rice is tender to the bite and the liquid is absorbed. Serve it immediately.
- The original recipe called for 2 cups of zucchini, but reports are that moms around Dallas have been able to add up to 5 cups without a noticeable change in texture, flavor, or kids/husbands love for the dish.
- As you can see, I actually used yellow summer squash instead of zucchini because that’s what I had. Feel free to substitute as you and your family like.
- In the same vein, you can also vary the flavor by using different sausages. I used a spinach and feta sausage. I’ve heard it’s delicious with a spicier andouille or chipotle flavored sausage, too. Use what your family likes, or skip it to make the meal vegetarian.
- You can also cook it on the stovetop like a traditional risotto. But why would you slave over a hot stove when you can put it in the oven! I cooked ours fairly successfully in our new little countertop oven.
- Hide your kids! Hide your wife! There’s a ton of squash in this risotto!
We actually ate this as leftovers the next day. In our house, that’s the true mark of a good recipe. I hope you all enjoy this recipe. And convince your kids that squash isn’t all that bad after all. Please let me know if you try it and like it! (Or if you hate it. That’s okay. I can handle it.) If you want to eat more vegetables, try our favorite veggie side dish: kale salad or hide some cauliflower in our favorite chicken tikka masala. How do you get your family to eat their veggies?