I like it when, in the summer, after a row of days with temperatures to the maximum which leaves my patience to the minimum, comes a gray day, perhaps a few shy drops of rain, those said to only wet the fools, that releases the wonderful earthy aroma from the wet soil, leaves the air more clear and the house fresh again. The countryside benefits from the brief relief of summer but even the city is more beautiful under the light of a slight overcast sky, that seems to combine with the melancholy of the old facades.
On a day like this take advantage of a more cozy meal, such as this tomato zucchini risotto, which combines very simple ingredients and takes advantage of the season’s abundance of tomatoes and zucchinis. It is incredible the amount of zucchini I’ve been using lately: they go into soups, cakes, bolognaise, salads, risottos and the summer it’s still half through. In fact, if you have any suggestions about nice recipes where to throw one or two zucchinis more you can leave them in the comments box, I will be very grateful.
This tomato zucchini risotto can be served as a main course or as a side dish. I made the recipe a few times to test and tune it before I published it and in one of those times I accompanied the risotto with small sardines, in Portugal we call them petingas, well fried and crispy. Set the table in an airy place, under a tree if you are blessed with that option, serve a cold dry white wine, it may be the same dry white wine you used to cook the risotto, and you’ll have the perfect lunch for a summer day.
The quantities indicated in the recipe are enough for four people as main course. If you serve the tomato zucchini risotto as a side dish, reduce the quantities a bit or invite someone else for lunch 🙂
If the risotto is a dish that scares you, don’t let it to. It’s a simple dish that uses simple ingredients (so choose the best quality you can) and your family and friends are not the Masterchef jury. Moreover, as with most things, greater perfection will come mainly from practice. If you want, read on the wonderful blog Hortus Natural Cooking an article on how to cook any risotto to perfection.
Summer risotto (tomato zucchini risotto)
- 350 g zucchini cut into cubes (if they are small, you don’t need to peel them or remove the seeds)
- 350 g tomato cut into cubes
- 1 + 2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
- 75 g onion finely chopped
- 2 tablespoons tomato paste
- 320 g risotto rice (Carnaroli, Vialone Nano oru Arborio)
- 60 ml dry white wine
- 1 liter vegetable broth hot
- 1 tablespoon butter
- 75 g freshly grated parmesan cheese
- Salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste
- Preheat the oven to 180º C. Line a baking dish with aluminum foil and put place the zucchini and tomato on top. Season with a tablespoon of olive oil, salt and freshly ground black pepper. Bake in the preheated oven for 30 minutes.
- When the vegetables are halfway through cooking begin to prepare the risotto. Heat two tablespoons of olive oil in a casserole, preferably large, on medium heat. Add the onion and sauté for a few minutes until translucent. Add the tomato paste, mix and cook for one minute more.
- Add the rice and fry it for a minute or two, stirring frequently. Add the white wine and let evaporate.
- Begin adding the hot vegetable broth, a ladle at a time (actually, I usually pour two ladles in the beginning and then continue adding only one at a time). Let the rice absorb the liquid before adding more. Keep the heat low and stir occasionally to prevent it from sticking to the bottom of the casserole.
- When you have added all the broth and the rice is creamy and al dente, ie the grain is cooked but maintains a slight resistance in the middle, add the baked zucchini and tomato, as well as the juices that have released to the baking dish.
- Add the butter and grated parmesan cheese and stir to incorporate. Taste and adjust the seasoning if necessary. Serve immediately.
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