Zucchini cheddar risotto

Zucchini cheddar risotto is a very simple risotto recipe where zucchini is the star and the cheddar cheese is there to round up the flavour of the whole dish. Zucchini slices are pan-fried and set aside, then added to the risotto at the very end. This way they stay crispy and contrast in flavour with the cheesy risotto.

Cheddar cheese and pan-fried zucchini are the main ingredients in this delicate white wine risotto. This zucchini cheddar risotto really showcases that just a few simple ingredients can go a long way when it comes to delicious flavours.

I like my risotto simple. This is why when I read risotto recipes that list too many ingredients, I don’t feel particularly pulled towards them. A simple risotto made with wine and cheese is easy comfort food, and I generally don’t go too bold and add too many other ingredients. If you’re anything like me, you’re gonna love my zucchini cheddar risotto!

Zucchini cheddar risotto in a brown serving dish.

Risotto with thinly sliced zucchini

In this zucchini cheddar risotto we are making a basic white wine risotto where we are using cheddar in place of more traditional parmigiano. Our vegetable of choice is zucchini, elegantly sliced very thin. I find thickly chopped zucchini in risotto quite off-putting. Unfortunately, that is the only way to cut them if you want to cook them together with the risotto. Make them too thin, and they will just get mushy at best, melt away at worst.

How to solve this problem and get a zucchini risotto with perfect thin rounds of the delicious vegetable? The answer is: pan-fry the zucchini at the beginning, set aside, and add at the end. So is this a zucchini risotto, then? Sure, not cooking the zucchini together with the risotto they will not have lended their flavour to the risotto base. But, think about it:

  • zucchini is a very mild vegetable
  • cheddar is a pretty sharp cheese

Even stewing the zucchini together with the rice their flavour would get overwhelmed once we added the cheddar.

Preparing the zucchini aside is the best way to preserve their flavour, as well as their shape and texture. The key is to add enough to have some zucchini every other mouthful. Crispy pan-fried zucchini will give the overall dish that hint of sweetness that will pair with the cheddar rather than be overwhelmed by it.

Zucchini cheddar risotto in a brown serving dish.

Zucchini cheddar risotto ingredients

Here’s a list of what will be needed to make this recipe. Please refer to the recipe card below for quantities.

  • Risotto rice (I used Arborio)
  • Zucchini
  • Cheddar (mine was aged 12 months)
  • Butter
  • Shallot
  • Dry white wine (Chardonnay in this recipe)
  • Vegetable stock
  • Cooking cream
  • Salt & pepper
Zucchini cheddar risotto main flavours: zucchini, cheddar, white wine and risotto rice.
Zucchini cheddar risotto main flavours: arborio rice, fresh zucchini, aged cheddar, shallot and white wine (chardonnay).

How to make it

  • Thinly slice the zucchini either with a knife or using a mandoline.
  • Melt 30 g butter in a skillet at medium-high heat, add the sliced zucchini and sautée for about 6 minutes, consantly stirring to evenly distribute the heat. Take away from heat, add a sprinkle of salt, remove from the pan and set aside.
  • Using the same skillet, melt another 30 g butter on medium heat. Mince the shallot and add it to the butter.
  • When the onion has softened, add 300 g risotto rice. Keep on medium heat and stir constantly until the rice becomes translucent, about 3 minutes.
  • Increase the heat to high and pour in the white wine. Stir until it has evaporated. The following picture on the left shows how the rice should look like after the wine has been evaporated.
  • Lower the heat to medium and add the stock in batches, enough to cover the rice (picture on the right above). When the rice has absorbed it, add more and work this way until all the stock has been incorporated. Stir from time to time and lower the heat if the stock evaporates too quickly or if the rice sticks to the bottom of the pan. The whole process should take about 20-25 minutes.
Zucchini cheddar risotto preparation: fluffy risotto that has absorbed the stock.
Cooked risotto rice after all of the stock has been incorporated and absorbed by the rice. You can notice how fluffier the rice looks compared with the pictures of the previous steps.
  • As the rice is cooking, grate the cheese. When all the stock has been incorporated and the rice is cooked through, remove the pan from heat and fold in the grated cheese.
  • Next, pour in the cream and fold that in. Depending on saltiness of the stock and cheese, you may or may not have to adjust the salt.
Closeup of fluffy consistency of cheddar risotto.
Fully cooked risotto, after folding in the cheese and cream, should have a rich and creamy texture.
  • Last, fold in the zucchini. You may reserve some to add as topping once you are ready to serve your risotto. Stir in some freshly cracked black pepper if desired.

Cheddar is not a cheese largely used in Italian cooking, yet it really works beautifully in this dish. It has a deep flavour, just like parmigiano, with the added bonus of melting really well and being extra creamy. It is pretty common to finish a risotto dish by stirring in a chunk of butter at the end, but the addition of cheddar and cream does a great job here.

Zucchini cheddar risotto in a brown serving dish.Overhead view of zucchini cheddar risotto, serving plates on the side.

Feeling inspired?

I am a huge risotto lover and I am happy to share my favourite risotto recipes. So if you liked this zucchini cheddar risotto, you may want to take a look at my other risotto recipes:

Don’t forget to let me know if you liked my recipe in the comments, and to add it to your pinterest board!

Zucchini cheddar risotto

A creamy cheddar risotto where zucchini are pan-fried and added only at the end to preserve their flavour and texture in order to beautifully contrast with the creaminess of the dish.

Course Main Course
Cuisine Italian
Keyword cheddar, italian, risotto, white wine, zucchini
Prep Time 15 minutes
Cook Time 25 minutes
Total Time 40 minutes
Servings 4 people
Calories 567 kcal
Author Eva | Electric Blue Food

Ingredients

  • 300 g risotto rice
  • 130 g cheddar
  • 2 zucchini
  • 60 g butter divided
  • 1 shallot
  • 100 ml white wine dry or semi-dry
  • 1.5 l vegetable stock
  • salt & pepper

Instructions

  1. Thinly slice the zucchini either with a knife or a mandoline.

  2. Melt 30 g butter in a skillet at medium-high heat, add the sliced zucchini and sautée for about 6 minutes, constantly stirring to distribute the heat. Remove from the pan, stir in a sprinkle of salt and set aside.

  3. Melt another 30 g butter in the same pan on medium heat. Mince the shallot and add it to the butter.

  4. When the onion has softened, add 300 g risotto rice. Keep on medium heat and stir constantly until the rice becomes translucent, it should take about 3 minutes.

  5. Increase the heat to high and pour in the white wine. Stir until it has evaporated.

  6. Lower the heat to medium and add the stock in batches, enough to cover the rice. When the rice has absorbed the stock, add more and work this way until all the stock has been incorporated. Stir from time to time and lower the heat if the stock evaporates too quickly or if the rice sticks to the bottom of the pan. The whole process should take about 15 minutes.

  7. Grate the cheddar. When all the stock has been incorporated and the rice is cooked through, remove the pan from heat and fold in the grated cheese.

  8. Pour in the cream and fold that in. Add salt and pepper to taste.

  9. Lastly, fold in the zucchini. You may reserve some to add as topping once you are ready to serve your risotto.

Nutrition Facts
Zucchini cheddar risotto
Amount Per Serving
Calories 567 Calories from Fat 216
% Daily Value*
Fat 24g37%
Saturated Fat 15g94%
Cholesterol 66mg22%
Sodium 1820mg79%
Potassium 383mg11%
Carbohydrates 69g23%
Fiber 3g13%
Sugar 7g8%
Protein 14g28%
Vitamin A 1695IU34%
Vitamin C 18mg22%
Calcium 254mg25%
Iron 4mg22%
* Percent Daily Values are based on a 2000 calorie diet.
(Visited 52 times, 1 visits today)

Leave A Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Recipe Rating