Zucchini Flower Risotto

 Zucchini Blossom and Artichoke Risotto

Serves 4 

juice of 1 lemon

8 baby artichokes

8 baby zucchini with flowers

1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil 

2 (14-ounce) cans fat-free, less-sodium chicken broth

1 tablespoon butter

1 cup finely chopped leek

2 garlic cloves, minced

1 1/4 cups Arborio rice

1/4 teaspoon salt

1/2 cup dry white wine

1 cup (4 ounces) finely chopped fresh mozzarella cheese 

1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

chopped parsley for garnish (optional) 


Place 2 cups water and lemon juice in a large bowl.

Trim artichoke stems to 1/2 - inch. Cut artichokes in half lengthwise and remove tough outer leaves so that just the hearts and thin leaves are left. Trim about 1/2" off the tops. Place in lemon water. 

Slice baby zucchini into about 1/4" rounds. Slice the flowers into thin ribbons. I like to leave a few flowers whole and wilt them into the risotto or use as garnish. 

Heat olive oil in a saute pan over medium heat. Remove artichokes from water and pat dry. Transfer to pan and cook, covered, stirring occasionally for 8 minutes, or until softened. Uncover and add zucchini, but not blossoms to the pan. Saute until zucchini are tender crisp. Transfer vegetables to a bowl.

Bring broth to a simmer in a medium saucepan (do not boil). Keep warm over low heat.

Melt butter in a medium sauté pan over medium heat. Add leek and garlic; cook for 3 minutes, stirring frequently. Add rice and 1/4 teaspoon salt; cook 1 minute, stirring constantly. Stir in wine; cook 2 minutes or until liquid is nearly absorbed, stirring constantly. Add broth, 1/2 cup at a time, stirring frequently until each portion of broth is absorbed before adding the next (about 20 minutes total). Stir in vegetables and flowers. Remove from heat; stir in mozzarella. Sprinkle with black pepper. Garnish with parsley if desired.