The Best Vegetarian Courgette Risotto Recipe

Risotto holds a special place in my heart as is the typical dish from my hometown – Milan. The ultimate comfort food, ideal for autumn and winter evening when fancying a nourishing dish. Rice is a gluten free grain, so risotto is ideal to celiac and gluten sensitive people. This recipe is vegetarian, but can easily be vegan by swapping butter and cheese with diary free versions.

I have made this specific risotto with freshly picked courgette as now they are in season, but this recipe works also with asparagus, fresh peas and mushrooms and many other – try to give it a go!

Courgettes are a great source of beta-carotenes, which the body can transform in vitamin A.⁠ Vitamin A is key for good eye vision and to support rapidly reproducing cells, such as all our gut mucosa and skin. Courgettes are also a source of both soluble and insoluble fibre, which can help in supporting regular bowel movements and healthy gut microbiota. ⁠

INGREDIENTS (for 4 people)

5 coffee cups (Italian espresso cups) of risotto rice (arborio or carnaroli)⁠
1/2 finely chopped white onion
2 tbsp of butter
1 litre of vegetable broth
1 glass of dry white wine
1 courgette (grated)
200gr of grated grana Padano (you can add more when serving or in the risotto if you like)
Salt and pepper to taste


1. Warm up the litre of broth, without make it boil. In medium size saucepan melt the butter at low/medium heat and add the chopped onion until golden but still firm. At this point add the rice stirring vigorously for a couple of minutes to release the amid and help the rice soak up the butter. In Italy (or at least in my family) we use espresso cups to measure, one for each person plus one for the pan.
2. Once the rice is “toasted” (this how we called this process of stirring the rice) add the glass of wine and let it evaporate. Once the wine is evaporated, start adding the warm broth to just to cover the rice, add some pepper and salt, stir, and cover with a lid and let the rice cook at a medium heat stirring occasionally. To achieve the right risotto texture is important not to over stir it, otherwise the dish will become very gluey. Once the rice has absorbed most of the broth add the grated courgettes, stir, and more broth to cover the rice and put the lid back on. The trick to a good risotto is to add the broth bit by bit, adding more when is absorbed. Each kind of rice has different cooking time, but generally it takes between 20 to 30 minutes for the risotto to be ready, and the best advice is to taste a bit after 15 minutes of cooking to understand the texture and keep on trying until is cooked.
3. Once the rice is cooked to your favorite texture and the broth is absorbed, add the grated cheese, stir and cover the pan with a tea towel and let it rest for 5 minutes.
4. Now it’s ready to be served and garnished with extra pepper and cheese if you like!

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