A super creamy and delicious Parmesan Zucchini Risotto. Perfect comfort food for the whole family. It's kids friendly and it's a perfect weeknight dinner as you only need a few ingredients and it's ready in just 30 minutes.
Parmesan Risotto always reminds me of my childhood. It's such an easy dish to make and it doesn't require much time and effort so it was the perfect lunch or dinner when I was a kid.
Adding zucchini will make it even more flavorful and delicious - zucchini is absolutely my favorite vegetable. I usually grow them in my garden in summer because we eat so many! They can be used in so many recipes, from salads to pasta, to side dishes and even cakes.
If you don't love zucchini (crazy!) you can substitute them with over veggies (see below for substitutions recommendations, or skip them altogether and make a classic Risotto al Parmigiano (Parmesan Risotto).
How to make Risotto with Zucchini
Risotto is very easy to make but it needs to be made properly to get the best result. Start by mincing the onion and zucchini and sautè in a large pan with a drizzle of olive oil, until they start to brown (1). Season lightly with salt and black pepper. Add the Carnaroli rice and cook for a couple of minutes (2).
Add a few ladles of vegetable stock and turn down the heat. Let the rice simmer, mixing once in a while to make sure it doesn't stick. When the stock is almost completely absorbed, add some more (3). Continue until the rice is al dente. About 5 minutes before it's done, add the cream or milk. In the end, the rice should be creamy and not soupy. If there's too much liquid, turn the heat to high and let it evaporate.
When the rice is cooked, turn off the heat and add the butter and grated Parmigiano cheese (4). Mix well until the butter is fully melted. Serve immediately.
This risotto has only a few ingredients, but see below some possible substitutions if you want to change it up.
- Carnaroli Rice: To make a creamy risotto, you need to use a type of rice that has a high amount of starch. The best rice for risotto is the Carnaroli type. Alternatively, you can use Arborio rice which is similar. Any other type of rice will not make a creamy risotto.
- Zucchini: Zucchini is one of my favorite options for this kind of risotto, but you also substitute them with mushrooms, asparagus, artichokes, pumpkin, bell peppers, carrots, beets, and whatever you fancy! Risotto is very versatile so fantasy is your only limit. You can also skip completely the veggies and enjoy a classic Parmesan Risotto.
- Parmigiano cheese: You can substitute Parmigiano cheese with Grana Padano or Pecorino. Any other cheese would not make the same result.
- Cream: You can substitute the cream with milk. I actually do this sometimes when I'm out of cream and the result is almost identical. You only need to add the milk a bit sooner as it's more liquid and needs more time to be absorbed. You can use either low fat or full fat, depending on your preference.
FAQ & Tips
To make a creamy risotto, you need to use a type of rice that has a high amount of starch. The best rice for risotto is the Carnaroli type. Alternatively, you can use Arborio rice, which is similar. Any other type of rice would not make a creamy risotto.
You can store leftovers in an airtight container in the fridge for up to 3 days. Although I'm not a fan of reheated risotto, because it will become overcooked and sticky.
If you like this recipe, try also these other Risotto recipes:
- Asparagus Risotto
- Butter and Tomato Risotto
- Pumpkin Risotto with Gorgonzola
- Seafood Risotto
- Saffron Risotto
Parmesan Zucchini Risotto
- 1 Zucchini
- 1 cup Risotto Rice, Carnaroli
- ½ Yellow Onion
- 2 cups Vegetable Stock
- ¼ cup Cream
- ¼ cup Parmigiano cheese, grated
- 1 tablespoon Butter, unsalted
- Black Pepper
- Olive Oil
- Finely mince the onion and cut the zucchini in small cubes. Drizzle a large pan with olive oil, then sauté the onion and zucchini for a few minutes, until they start to brown. Season lightly with salt and black pepper.
- Add the Carnaroli rice to the pan and cook for a couple of minutes.
- Add a few ladles of vegetable stock, until the rice is covered, and turn down the heat.
- Let the rice simmer, mixing it once in a while to make sure it doesn't stick. When the stock is almost completely absorbed, add some more. Continue until the rice is al dente.
- About 5 minutes before it's done, add the cream or milk. In the end, the rice should be creamy and not soupy. If there's too much liquid, turn the heat to high and let it evaporate.
- When the rice is cooked, turn off the heat and add the butter and grated Parmigiano cheese. Mix well until the butter is fully melted. Serve immediately.
Nutritional information is only an estimate. The accuracy of the nutritional information for any recipe on this site is not guaranteed.
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