Not only is the colour of this risotto gorgeous, it is absolutely delicious. With the addition of zucchini this is the perfect summer risotto, especially if your garden is overrun with them. My favourite is Romanesco zucchini if you can find them try them! I think I will go and make some risotto right now!
3 bell peppers (a combination of yellow & red), chopped
1 Tbsp. water
5 Tbsp. unsalted butter
1 cup finely diced zucchini (1/4″)
4 cups low-salt chicken broth or homemade chicken stock**
6 shallots, minced (about 1 cup) OR an equal amount of finely chopped onion
1 large garlic clove, minced
1 cup risotto rice (see below)
1/3 cup dry white wine
½ cup freshly grated Parmigiano Reggiano
2 Tbsp. minced flat-leaf parsley
Salt & freshly ground black pepper
In a skillet cook the peppers in water & 2 Tbsp. butter, partially covered, over moderate heat, stirring occasionally, until very soft, about 20 minutes (don’t be surprised if this takes longer, just add a bit more water & keep cooking until done). Puree peppers in a blender or food processor and strain through a coarse sieve into a small bowl; season with salt & freshly ground black pepper. (This can be done the day before).
In the cleaned skillet cook the zucchini in 1 Tbsp. butter over moderate heat, stirring, until crisp-tender, about 2 minutes; season with salt & freshly ground black pepper.
In a saucepan heat the broth and keep at a simmer.
In a heavy 2-3 qt. saucepan cook the shallot or onion in remaining 2 Tbsp. butter over moderately low heat until very soft but not browned, about 5 minutes, adding the garlic about a minute before the shallots or onion are done. Stir in the rice and cook over medium heat, stirring constantly, until the edges of the rice become translucent, about 5 minutes. Add the wine and cook, stirring constantly, until it is absorbed. Add about ½ cup of the broth; cook stirring constantly until it is absorbed. Continue adding the broth ½ cup at a time, stirring constantly until almost absorbed before adding more broth, until the rice is al dente, about 20 minutes.
Remove the pan from the heat & stir in the bell pepper puree, zucchini, Parmigiano Reggiano, 1 Tbsp. chopped parsley, salt & freshly ground black pepper to taste. Serve the risotto in 4 bowls, sprinkling with some of the remaining parsley. Pass the Parmigiano!
A note about rice for Risotto: Arborio, Vialone Nano & Carnaroli are three rices used to make risotto. However, Vialone Nano and Carnaroli are considered the best choice. The Vialone Nano has smaller grains, cooks faster & absorbs condiments better, but the Carnaroli is less likely to get overcooked. Superfino, Semifino & Fino refers to the size & shape (length & narrowness) of the grains.
If you would like to make your own stock, click Making Stock.