I love them for their color, for the way they grace the table. Boiled and sliced, seasoned with a little olive oil, garlic salt, and pepper, available year around, zucchini are simply the best.
Leftover, they are fit for a frittata or omelet. Lately I have been re-purposing them in a rice dish, another almost risotto.
It was an accident. You can cook zucchini too long. I took my eye off the pan. When I lifted the lid and drained the zucks, with the first pass of the knife through an individual zucchino, I knew: mushy. I sliced them anyway. We ate about half. Well, I did. My wife makes this face. It’s really just an eyebrow lift that says, Too bad. It’s subtle. But not. There’s no one-eyebrow ruling. It’s both. You botched it. Let’s move on. This day, she made that face. After lunch the platter of zucchini sat on the back of the stove.
I thought: Let’s try something.
Almost risotto. Let me define my terms. Risotto, my wife will remind me, real risotto, is cooked with two pans, one with broth, the other with your rice and stuff. She makes a seafood risotto that totally stinks up the house but is also totally to die for, ladling gently boiling broth into the stuff pan, watching it cook down, then ladling in more broth. It’s a long cook. I’m impatient. In one pan I do a sauce, in the other the rice. Dump the sauce on the rice; mix. It’s not subtle. But I get results.
For this almost risottle, zucchini redux, you chop and saute an onion the size of a tennis ball or lemon in olive oil. Once the saute is soft, the onion going transparent, toss in the also chopped up zucchini. Add a little broth and cook the two together for 10 minutes or so. Then strike up the hand blender or whatever you use. Make a little mush. For a little more detail on this step, and for other excellent options that can result in an almost risotto, see Please Pea Me and Chickpea Me.
I pour this zucchini redux over brown rice I’ve cooked. It would be excellent with maltagliati. Over the rice I love a generous snow storm of grated Parmigiano-Reggiano.