Lemon Butter Risotto with Zucchini

  • 2 medium zucchinis
  • 4 cups vegetable broth
  • 2 Tbsp. extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1/2 cup chopped shallots
  • 5 garlic cloves minced
  • 1 cup arborio rice
  • 6 sprigs fresh thyme
  • 1/2 tsp. kosher salt
  • 2 Tbsp. unsalted butter
  • 3 Tbsp. fresh lemon juice
  • 2 Tbsp. lemon zest
  • 3/4 tsp. freshly ground black pepper divided
  • 3/4 cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese divided
  • Optional herb garnish: caramelized lemon wedges fresh thyme or basil

  1. Slice zucchinis into 1/2-inch coins. Slice coins into halves or quarters, depending on size.
  2. Bring broth and 1 cup water to a simmer in a medium saucepan; keep warm over medium-low heat until ready to use.
  3. Meanwhile, heat oil in a large pan over medium-high. Add zucchini and shallots; cook 5 to 6 minutes, stirring occasionally, until zucchini is light golden brown. Stir in garlic, rice, thyme, and salt, and reduce heat to medium-low. Cook, stirring often, until grains start turning translucent, about 3 to 4 minutes.
  4. Ladle in 2 cups broth and simmer, stirring frequently, until completely absorbed, 8 to 10 minutes. Ladle in another 1 cup broth, stirring frequently and allowing liquid to absorb fully before adding more. Continue to add broth in 1 cup increments until rich is al dente and creamy, about 25 to 30 minutes total.
  5. Remove thyme sprigs and add butter, lemon juice and zest, 1/2 tsp. black pepper, and 1/2 cup of the cheese. Stir constantly until butter melts into mixture and cheese is incorporated. Remove from heat and garnish with remaining 1/4 tsp. pepper, 1/2 cup cheese, and additional herbs, if desired.
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