This creamy Risotto is made with fresh Zucchini, herbs, cream, and freshly grated Parmesan Cheese. The perfect Italian Main Dish and a wonderful way to use summer fresh zucchini.
Creamy Italian Zucchini Risotto
Until I came to Italy I had never tasted a Risotto, sure we ate rice, my Mom made an amazing Rib Dish which she would serve with rice. But never a Risotto.
Now I have to say I have eaten many a Risotto, from Zucchini, to Squash to my favourite Risotto alla Crema di Scampi (Prawns). Which my daughter says, it’s about time I learned how to make risotto myself!
When I watch cooking shows, they always state how difficult it is to make a risotto, but I disagree. All it needs is time, patience, care, and a couple of pots, and it is soooo worth it.
And I think if this is your first time making a Risotto, then the best and easiest Risotto to try is this Homemade Zucchini Risotto. A great way to use up all those zucchini.
- Olive oil
- Sliced zucchini
- Chopped onion
- Minced garlic
- Dried oregano
- Dried parsley
- Arborio rice
- Vegetable broth – homemade or store bought
- Heavy cream
The only rice for risotto is arborio rice – there is no substitute. It is an Italian short-grain rice that is so tender and creamy when it is cooked.
The best size Zucchini for using to make a risotto are small or medium ones. But if you have large ones, they will work too. Just slice them down the middle (lengthwise) and then again to make 4 quarters. Remove the extra pulp in the middle which includes any and all seeds too.
How to make homemade broth
In a large pot add a carrot and an onion peeled and cut in half, a celery stalk cut in two, a bay leaf, 2-3 pepper corns, 1/4-1/2 teaspoon of salt and 12 cups of water. Bring it to a boil then lower the heat and simmer for about three hours.
Stir occasionally and remove any foam that appears on the top of the broth. Pour the broth through a sieve, and let the liquid cool, or in this case use the broth hot.
Any unused broth can be stored in the fridge in an airtight container for 4-5 days. It can also be frozen in freezer safe containers and will keep for up to 6 months.
How to Make Risotto
Start off by sautéeing your sliced zucchini, onion and garlic in a little olive oil until golden. In a large pot add the broth and heat until hot.
In a separate pot, melt the butter and add the rice, stir to combine, cook on medium heat for 30-45 seconds. Add the broth one cup at a time. Stir continuously and once the rice has absorbed most of the liquid add more. Repeat this process until the rice is cooked and creamy. This will take 30 minutes or so.
And just make sure that when you are cooking your rice to stir, and continually add liquid so it doesn’t dry out and stick to the pan. This we absolutely do not want to happen!
Once it is cooked and still a little moist, add the zucchini mixture and other ingredients, cook 1-2 minutes, top with some freshly grated Parmesan Cheese and chopped Parsley. And dinner is served.
Homemade Risotto Tips
Risotto is easy to make, but it takes time. So, this isn’t something that can be rushed so plan ahead and allow yourself time to make it. It will be worth it.
Be sure to taste it before serving and add more salt, if needed.
Risotto is best when it’s made. It will tighten up and won’t be as creamy if leftovers are stored in the refrigerator. You can thin it with a little water or broth when you warm them up. Or use the leftovers to make arancini which are delicious rice balls.
So when you have an hour to devote to a delicious heavenly Italian Dish, this Zucchini Risotto will not disappoint. Buon Appetito!
More Delicious Zucchini Recipes
- Cheesy Zucchini Bites
- Italian Marinated Zucchini
- Grilled Zucchini Pizza with Arugula
- Moist Pecan Zucchini Bread
- Zucchini Patties
Creamy Italian Zucchini Risotto
- 2 tablespoon olive oil
- 3-4 small zucchini sliced
- 1/2 onion chopped
- 1 clove of garlic minced
- 1/2 teaspoon oregano
- 1/2 teaspoon parsley
- 1/4 teaspoon salt
- 1/4 cup water
- 1 1/2 tablespoons butter
- 1 1/4 cups uncooked arborio rice
- 4½-5 cups vegetable broth (homemade or store bought)
- 1/4 cup heavy cream
- extra salt to taste
- 1-2 tablespoons grated parmesan cheese
- In a medium size pan add olive oil, zucchine, onion, garlic, oregano, parsley, salt and 1/4 cup water, cook uncovered over medium low heat, stirring occasionally until the zucchini are tender (and a little golden) and water has evaporated, (approximately 15-20 minutes, after about 15 minutes if there is still a lot of water remaining turn heat up a little), when done, remove from heat and with a fork coarsely mash the zucchini mixture.
- In a large pot add the broth and heat until hot.
- Meanwhile, in a large pan on medium low heat melt the butter, add the rice and stir to combine, cook on medium heat for 30-45 seconds, then add continuously one cup at a time** the broth as it evaporates and the rice cooks, (this can take up to 30 minutes) stirring often.
- When rice is cooked make sure that it remains slightly moist and creamy, lower heat to very low, gently fold in the zucchini mixture (taste for salt, add if necessary). Remove from heat, gently fold in a tablespoon of butter and parmesan cheese until combined, add the cream, mix gently together, serve immediately with extra freshly grated parmesan cheese and fresh parsley if desired. Enjoy!
- **add the liquid a cup at a time (because you may not need all the liquid listed if your rice cooks quicker) and there should be a little liquid remaining in the rice when you add more liquid because you don’t want the rice to stick to the pan.
Republished from June 26, 2017.
Hi! Can I skip the cream, or use light cream instead of heavy? I know that kind of defeats the purpose of “creamy” risotto but I’m trying to be a little more healthy in my cooking 🙂 thanks! Love your recipes!
Hi Livia, sure light cream would work also. I hope you enjoy it. Take care.
This recipe was my first experience cooking something from your site. It was 4 stars! It was, as risotto always is, a little time consuming, but it was EXCELLENT. My husband says “A+”!!! Something that was a little different for me but completely worthwhile was the low-heat sautéing of the zucchini, herbs, onion, and garlic beforehand. It added SO much flavor and great consistency. I made the recipe to spec except: used already prepped veggie stock, used 2 large garlic cloves, and I threw in a 1/2 cup of prosecco before I started using the stock – because that is what I was drinking! I served it with salmon. I look forward to poking around the site for more recipes! Grazie!
Hi Robyn, thanks so much, so glad you and your husband enjoyed it. Have a great week.
I used chicken stock instead of vegetable bullion, forgot to at cream at the end, but it turned out very tasty and got compliment from my guests. Thank you for lovely recipe!
Hi Miyako, thanks so much, so glad everyone enjoyed it. Have a great weekend.
Can you make this with mushrooms instead of zucchini?
Hi Susan, yes you can, chop the mushrooms but don’t squish them and continue with the recipe as written. Let me know how it goes.
Thank you. Looking forward to making this. I am actually going to make your pizza dough tomorrow. Fingers crossed!
Hi Susan, thanks let me know how the pizza goes.
The pizza turned out great! Can’t wait to make it again and try different toppings. Believe it or not it is difficult getting flour and yeast. (As you know everyone is home and cooking at lot)
Absolutely delicious! Thank you so much for this lovely and simple recipe <3
Hi Miriam, thanks so much, glad you enjoyed it.
I used your recipe to make risotto for the first time ever. I was looking for something new to try with fresh zucchini from our garden. I didn’t have veg bouillon, so I improvised with chicken broth and a bit of tomato bouillon, and it turned out absolutely delicious.
Thanks so much, bon appetit!
Hi Sydney, thanks so glad you liked the risotto. Nothing like a good risotto. 🙂
Ciao Chow Linda says
I agree with you – risotto is not at all hard to make. This zucchini version would be perfect with all the ripe zucchini ready to be eaten!
Hi Linda, thanks and yes we have a lot of zucchini too. Have a great week.
Lena Paul says
I love you website and have tried many of your recipes. I am a little confused on Step 3.
Meanwhile, in a large pot on medium low heat melt the butter, add the rice and stir to combine add continuously one cup at a time bouillon water, as water evaporates and rice cooks, (this can take up to 30 minutes) stirring continuously. When rice is cooked make sure that it remains slightly moist and creamy, turn down heat to low gently fold in the zucchini mixture (taste for salt, add if necessary) and then gently fold in butter until combined, then add cream, mix gently together, turn off heat, and serve immediately with freshly grated parmesan cheese and fresh parsley if desired. Enjoy!
I melted the butter and added the rice and then add 1 cup at a time the bouillon water (Do I add one cup and then when the water evaporates add another cup or all the liquid at once?) Also one of the last steps is to fold in butter then add cream but in the list of ingredients there is only one butter listed. Is there one missing or did I add it at the wrong time?
Hi Lena, thanks so much, and yes it is a little confusing, so you should add an additional tablespoon of butter at the end. And you add the liquid a cup at a time (because you may not need all the liquid listed if your rice cooks quicker) and there should be a little liquid remaining in the rice when you add more liquid because you don’t want the rice to stick to the pan. Sorry about that I corrected the instructions.
Thanks Nicole. 🙂
Erin Shannon says
Made it tonight! It was my first attempt at risotto, and I loved it!!
Hi Erin, so glad you liked it, I plan on doing a few more risottos this fall. Can’t beat a risotto. Thanks again.
Jim K says
Making this tonight along with a oven roasted side of Alaskan Salmon.
Hi Jim, thanks, let me know how you liked it!
Valerie Fidan says
I love this risotto recipe! It looks absolutely amazing. I can’t wait to make it!
Hi, thank you, let me know how it went when you try it.