International celebrity chef David Rocco brings his passion for food and healthy cooking to millions of kitchens every day through his worldwide hit television programs David Rocco’s Dolce Vita, and his latest spin-off shows: Dolce India, Dolce Napoli, and now Dolce Africa (in fact, David’s currently in Africa shooting the upcoming season). He is also the author of three internationally bestselling cookbooks, has his own line of wines, hosts unique events and dinners, and travels the world motivating and inspiring audiences – let’s just say David is one busy guy!If you’re not sure what to make for your guests this weekend, David has come to the rescue with this easy-to-prepare recipe, guaranteed to delight even the most discerning of palates:
- 2 tbsp (30 ml) + 3 tbsp (45 ml) extra-virgin olive oil
- 1 tbsp (14 ml) + 1 tbsp (14 ml) butter
- 3 medium zucchinis, sliced
- 4 cups (1 L) vegetable broth, or water
- 2 shallots or 1 medium white onion, minced
- 2 cups (450 g) Italian rice
- salt, QB
- 1 cup (225 ml) white wine
- 1/2 cup (110 g) finely grated fresh Parmigiano
- 1/2 cup (110g) freshly grated Provola
- pepper (optional) QB
- Zucchini flowers (for garnish)
First, sauté cut zucchini in 2 tbsp extra-virgin olive oil and 1 tbsp butter until soft and set aside.
Onto the risotto: heat water or broth up to a low simmer in a separate pot.
Now, to make a soffritto or flavor base, pour olive oil into your risotto pan, and on medium heat add in your shallots or white onion and gently sauté until they become sweet and soft. Be careful not to brown them.
Turn up the heat to medium high, add in the rice and stir so that all the grains of rice are coated in the olive oil. Cook until the rice becomes translucent. Add in your wine, which should be at room temperature, and let that get fully absorbed by the rice. ( if you’re using water instead of broth an extra splash of wine doesn’t hurt). At this point you’ll start seeing some of the creaminess coming out of the rice and the smell will be incredible.
Now you’re ready to start adding in your liquid. So, take a ladleful of the simmering water or broth, and a good pinch of salt, add it to the rice and stir to mix. Let that cook until the rice absorbs the water. Add another ladleful and stir and wait until that is absorbed. You want to give it a stir every couple of minutes to encourage the starches out of the rice, and also so that nothing is tempted to stick. You will see the dish start to get creamy. Taste as you go along and if you need more salt, add more!
Continue to add water by the ladleful until the rice is al dente, cooked, but slightly chewy, and the entire dish is creamy. This will take about 16-18 minutes. As for when to stop putting in the liquid? Risotto can be dense and somewhat dry, or somewhat soupy, or as the Italians say al’ onda – like a wave when you tap the pot. It’s all personal preference.
When the rice is cooked, take it off the heat, add in your sautéed zucchini, a tablespoon of butter and some freshly grated Parmigiano and provola and mix well. Garnish with zucchini flowers.