This Easy Zucchini Risotto with Lemon and Parmesan is packed full of unbeatable fresh flavors! Creamy zucchini risotto is a delicious way to pack in extra veggies in the summer - in fact it's a perfect meal at any time of the year. Making risotto is so much easier than you might think - all you need are a few simple ingredients.
The main reason I love making Risotto is that minimal ingredient prep is required. All you need is a little time to stir the risotto as it cooks - in fact stirring the pot is what makes the creamiest risotto.
My courgette and lemon risotto can be prepared, cooked and on the table in less than an hour - making it a great weeknight dinner option. However, this dish is also impressive enough to serve when you have friends and family for dinner.
Why You'll Love This Easy Zucchini Risotto Recipe
- Freshly made risotto has so much flavor and it's a lot easier to cook than you might think.
- It's perfect at that time of year you have a glut of summer zucchini.
- Risotto is a naturally gluten free dish that appeals to diners of all ages, both children and adults alike.
- With risotto everything is cooked in the one pan for less dishes.
- Try some of my other favorite zucchini recipes:
Zucchini Risotto Ingredients
Find the full list and quantities in the recipe card below.
Fresh Zucchini - I used 2 medium sized green zucchini in this recipe, but you can use any color zucchini.
Rice - You can use any variety of risotto rice in this dish. I like to use arborio rice, but carnaroli or vialone nano rice works in this dish too.
Stock - I've used vegetable stock, however if you aren't serving vegetarian diners then chicken stock would work well here too.
Wine - use a good quality white wine in this recipe, something you would be happy to drink a glass of yourself as it will make a difference to the flavor of the finished risotto. However, if you prefer a no-alcohol risotto you can leave out the wine and just stick with the lemon juice for acidity.
How to Make Easy Zucchini Risotto - Step-By-Step
Find the full printable recipe card below.
Sauté the finely chopped onion in butter in a large dutch oven or a large pot until it starts to soften. Add the chopped zucchini and sauté until it also softens, a further 5 minutes.
Meanwhile heat the broth to boiling point in a separate saucepan and then turn on to a low heat. Keeping the broth warm throughout the cooking process will help the risotto cook evenly.
Stir the minced garlic into the onion and zucchini mix for a minute, ensuring it doesn't burn then stir in the risotto rice and cook for 1-2 minutes until the rice becomes slightly translucent at the edges.
Add the white wine if using. Stir until the rice grains absorb the liquid then start adding the warm broth, one ladleful at a time. Allow the rice to absorb the liquid before adding more.
Stir the risotto frequently to prevent it from sticking to the bottom of the pan. Continue adding the warm broth and stirring for about 18-20 minutes or until the rice reaches a creamy and tender consistency. The final result should have a slight bite to it (al dente).
Once the rice is cooked, remove from the heat and stir in the lemon zest, lemon juice and the grated Parmesan cheese. Season with salt and black pepper to taste and serve with extra Parmesan if desired.
Frequently Asked Questions
Can you use regular rice to make risotto?
Yes, you can, but I don't recommend it. Risotto requires a specific type of rice like arborio, carnaroli rice or vialone nano. They have the perfect starch content which is required to create the creamy texture we all expect from a good risotto. Regular long grain rice or short-grain rice isn't so starchy and won't give you the same creamy results.
Can you reheat risotto?
Risotto is a dish that is best enjoyed straight away, while the rice still has some bite. Whilst you can reheat it, and it will still taste good, the texture is different as the rice will have absorbed more liquid and will be softer and have lost its bite.
Do you really have to stir risotto the whole time you are cooking it?
Yes, to make the best risotto you need to stir it while it cooks. Frequent stirring not only helps all the ingredients to incorporate, but by stirring the rice you activate all the starches in the rice. This gives you that lovely creamy texture we all associate from a good risotto.
Variations & Substitutions for Courgette Risotto
It's really easy to transform this recipe into a vegan risotto recipe. Make vegan zucchini risotto by swapping butter for extra-virgin olive oil and using vegan Parmesan cheese substitute to finish the dish (or leave it out altogether). If adding the white wine, ensure that is vegan too.
I prefer to have pieces of zucchini in my risotto but you can also use zucchini shredded with a large box grater if you like a softer texture.
Add some leafy greens like spinach or kale towards the end of cooking and allow to wilt. Fresh herbs are also a great addition.
Yellow squash makes a nice change in summer.
This recipe would work equally well with asparagus in place of the zucchini.
Tips & Tricks For Making Zucchini and Lemon Risotto
Seasoning is key to making a good risotto, so make sure to use enough salt in your risotto.
Don't rush the process - the rice needs enough time to absorb the liquid.
Equally, don't overcook the rice, you want it to be al-dente with a little bite.
Use a gentle hand, don't over-stir so much that the rice goes mushy!
Tips for making creamy risotto
- Do not rinse risotto rice before you start cooking or you will remove the starch from the rice that you need to give risotto its delicious creamy texture.
- Use a good quality risotto rice, don't be tempted to use regular long grain rice as it will not result in the same creamy texture.
- Always use a hot stock, keep it in a saucepan over medium low heat and ladle into the risotto as you cook.
- The key to making a delicious risotto is agitating the rice, so keep stirring gently as it cooks.
How To Serve Easy Zucchini Risotto
I like to keep things simple and add some crusty bread or garlic bread to the dinner table.
How To Reheat Zucchini Risotto?
Once cooled, store in an airtight container in the refrigerator for 3-4 days. When ready to reheat, place into a skillet and warm up gently on the stove. You may want to loosen the risotto with a little extra vegetable stock or water.
How to Freeze Zucchini Risotto?
Once cooked and cooled, place the risotto into an airtight container and store in the freezer for up to 3 months.
When ready to enjoy; defrost overnight in the refrigerator before heating up gently on the stove until piping hot. Just be aware that the texture of the risotto will change during the freezing and defrosting processes.
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More Easy Dinner Recipe Ideas
Easy Zucchini Risotto
- 2 tbsp Butter - unsalted or salted is fine
- 1 small Onion - finely chopped
- 2 medium Zucchini - chopped into small pieces
- 3 cloves Garlic - minced
- 1 ½ cups Risotto Rice - arborio rice is my preference
- ½ cup White Wine
- 4-5 cups Vegetable Stock - or chicken if not vegetarian
- ½ Lemon - zest and juice
- ½ cup Grated Parmesan or Vegetarian Alternative - plus extra for serving
- Sea Salt and Black Pepper - to taste
- Heat the butter over a medium high heat in a large Dutch oven or heavy bottomed saucepan,
- Sauté the finely chopped onion until it starts to soften, around 5 minutes.
- Add the chopped zucchini and sauté until it also softens, a further 5 minutes.
- Meanwhile in a separate saucepan, heat the broth to boiling point and then turn on to a low heat. Keeping the broth warm throughout the cooking process will help the risotto cook evenly.
- Stir the minced garlic into the onion and zucchini mix for a minute, ensuring it doesn't burn.
- Stir in the risotto rice and cook it for 1-2 minutes until the rice becomes slightly translucent at the edges.
- Add the white wine if using. Stir until the rice absorbs the liquid.
- Start adding the warm broth, one ladleful at a time. Allow the rice to absorb the liquid before adding more. Stir the risotto frequently to prevent it from sticking to the bottom of the pan.
- Continue adding the warm broth and stirring for about 18-20 minutes or until the rice reaches a creamy and tender consistency. The final result should have a slight bite to it (al dente).
- Once the rice is cooked, remove from the heat and stir in the lemon zest, lemon juice and the grated Parmesan cheese.
- Season with salt and pepper to taste.
- Serve with extra parmesan if desired.