Sunday, August 3, 2014

Zucchini Flower & Prosecco Risotto - una ricetta d'estate

Last Sunday, on the way home from Philly, I stopped and visited my Nonna and Nonno in North Jersey. During the usual many-phone-calls-per-week, they had been going on and on about their garden and all the goodies that were ready to harvest. "I zucchini sono pronti, abbiamo i fiori, l'arugula, il basilico, ecc." So after half an hour of watching my Nonno talk to himself in the garden and putter around in his standard mesh-shorts-dress-socks-sandals get up, I had bags of veggies ready to take back to the city. With two bags full of those bright golden blossoms, I knew had to come up with something besides the usual fried flowers for time and my stomach's sake. See a previous post for that recipe, which is super super tasty and one of my favorite seasonal treats.

This recipe is another fun way to use those colorful delicious blossoms, and the fizzy magic of the Prosecco really makes the flavor sparkle. Super summery and light, full of unique flavor and ideal with some greens, radishes, and cucumber on the side. Plus more Prosecco! Always, more Prosecco.

4 cloves garlic, minced
1/2 white onion, chopped
1/2 cup fresh parsley, chopped
1 quart vegetable broth
10-15 fresh zucchini flowers, stems trimmed off
1 1/2 cups Arborio rice
2 tablespoons Earth Balance butter
2 tablespoons Toffutti vegan cream cheese (optional)
1 cup Prosecco, room temperature
Extra Virgin Olive Oil

Risotto party:
In a small saucepan on a back burner, heat the veggie broth and keep at low heat to ensure it stays warm. Heating the broth is crucial, the grains get funky if you pour in room-temperature broth.

In a larger pot, sautee the chopped onion in delicious Sicilian Olive Oil (if possible) on low, until golden. Then throw in the garlic and Arborio rice. Stir with a wooden spoon to ensure all grains are coated in oil and that neither grains nor garlic are burning. Just keep stirring, just keep stirring, stirring, stirring, stirring, stirring. (Think Dory in Finding Nemo). Once the rice becomes a bit translucent, pour in the prosecco, then the warm/hot broth cup by cup. Constantly stir to keep from anything sticking to the bottom of the pot.

As you add in the broth, be sure to add the butter, parsley, salt and pepper to taste. Once the broth is near gone and the grains have absorbed most of it, add in the cream cheese if you desire. Towards the very very end throw in the zucchini flowers and another big splash of prosecco so the sparkle is on the tip of your tongue. I prefer the zucchini flowers whole, and adding them when almost done ensures they don't get overcooked but still tender and tasty.

Stir stir stir, let sit for few minutes, and top with another sprinkle of fresh parsley.

 Leftover tip:
I always love risotto the day after it is cooked. The flavors have all had more time to flourish and become even more delectable. Plus it's sticky and easy to make into risotto cakes or arancine. I made the leftovers from this recipe into cakes by forming into patties, coating in glutenfree breadcrumbs, and lightly frying in a bit of organic vegetable oil.

Che buona!!

Nonno's garden bounty

La cena. 

Everything is more delicious when it's breaded and fried, duh. 

Can you even handle it? I can't. This is basically the most scrumptious thing ever. 

Grazie, Nonna e Nonno!

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