A creamy and comforting risotto recipe with simple, but bold, flavours. This Courgette Risotto is topped with Parma Ham and is special enough to impress a dinner date, but also an easy weeknight meal. A great way to use up a glut of courgettes.
If you are growing courgettes, they are probably taking over the garden. But there are worse problems to have. They are so easy to add to a pasta or risotto to give it a veggie boost, and also bulk it out.
We kept the flavours really simple in this courgette risotto and added some lemon and rosemary and then topped with some Parmesan and Parma Ham - the saltiness pairs perfectly with the sweetness of home grown courgettes.
Why you will love it
- Quick - This courgette risotto is ready in just 30 minutes and with minimal prep time too.
- A great way to use courgettes - If you have loads to use up, this is a good way to cook with them.
- Easy to adapt - We have given options for different vegetables and cheese that you can use in this recipe to adapt it.
- Impressive date night meal - Risotto is such a great date night meal, as it feels far more indulgent than it actually is.
- Risotto rice - We used arborio rice as that gives the best creamy risotto. However, you could use another rice, but cooking times would vary and you wouldn't get the same results.
- Oil - A good quality olive oil.
- Shallots - This adds a lovely sweetness to the base of the dish, however you could swap them for a small brown onion.
- Celery - This adds a natural saltiness, and a nice bitterness to the courgette risotto.
- Garlic - Freshly crushed is always best, but you can use frozen garlic to save time.
- Rosemary - A super fragrant herb that works really well with the courgette. You could use thyme instead.
- Courgette (zucchini) - The star of the risotto. Choose ones that are no longer than 8 inches and are free of nicks. A really fresh courgette will have very tiny hairs on the skin.
- Vegetable stock - You could use chicken stock if you wanted a richer flavour.
- White wine - This adds a depth of flavour to the courgette risotto. You could just add more stock if you prefer.
- Crème fraiche - This adds a nice extra creaminess to the risotto. You could leave it out, or add some butter, cream cheese or quark instead.
- Pine nuts - We love the crunch that they add on top.
- Parmesan - A nice extra creaminess that goes well with the courgette.
- Parma Ham - This is optional, but we feel it takes this courgette risotto to the next level and makes it extra special. Leave it out if you want it to be meat free though.
A full ingredients list with measurements is in the recipe card below.
How to make Courgette Risotto - Step by step
One: Heat the oil in a large pan and then add the garlic, shallots, celery and rosemary and gently cook for 3 minutes.
Two: Add the risotto rice and cook for 1 minute.
Three: Add the courgette (zucchini), stir and cook for a further 1 minute.
Four: Pour the wine, lemon juice and a ladle of the stock in to the pan and gently simmer until the liquid is nearly gone. Keep adding ladles of stock one at a time and letting it reduce until you have used the stock and the rice is cooked - this will take around 30-35 minutes.
Five: Stir the crème fraiche into the risotto.
Six: Spoon in to a bowl and top with Parma Ham, Parmesan and pine nuts.
Health benefits of courgette
Courgettes are very low in calories and they have a high water content. They are also super nutritious as they are a great source of vitamins A and C, potassium and fibre.
Make sure to include the skin of the courgette in the risotto, as that is where most of the fibre comes from.
If you are not a fan of courgette, you could swap it for aubergine instead, but I would roast that first to really bring out the flavour. You could even using pumpkin or butternut squash for an autumnal twist.
The great thing about a risotto, is that it is easy to adapt. Use this a base recipe and then add extra ingredients depending on what your family love. Here are some other additions that work really well:
- Cooked chopped bacon
- Cooked shredded chicken
- Chorizo (cook it at the same time as the shallots)
- Frozen peas
- Chopped sun-dried tomatoes
- Shittake and chestnut mushrooms
- Grilled cod or salmon
- Roasted butternut squash
- Grilled king prawns
What to serve with Courgette Risotto
This courgette risotto is pretty much a full meal already, however we are always a fan of serving extra vegetables on the side where we can. Looking for some side dishes to go with this? Why not try these:
- Roasted Lemon Asparagus
- Grilled Little Gem Salad
- Cheesy Garlic Bread
- Buttered Leeks
- Baked Carrot Fries
- Garlic Spring Greens
- Beetroot and Goats Cheese Salad
- Roasted Tenderstem Broccoli
- Roasted Cherry Tomatoes
- Garlic and Parsley Roasted Carrots
Store: Risotto is always best made fresh, however if you do have some leftover then you can store it covered in the fridge for up to two days. Make sure that you follow food safety guidelines for cooked rice - do not leave it at room temperature and cool it very quickly. You then need to make sure to reheat it fully before serving.
Freeze: We wouldn’t recommend freezing risotto, because the rice becomes really hard when frozen and the texture just isn’t right when it is defrosted and reheated.
Reheat: To reheat, preheat your oven to 180°C/350°F/Gas 4. Place the cold risotto in an oven proof dish, and add a liquid like white wine, stock or simply water - just enough to loosen the rice. You can add a knob of butter too if desired. Bake for around 10 minutes until heated through, stirring every 2 minutes.
Frequently asked questions
The secret is cooking it low and slow and adding a little bit of stock at a time. This gives you the best creamy risotto. Using the right rice is important too.
Whilst it is cooking, leave the lid off. However, we recommend putting the lid on for a couple of minutes once finished cooking, as this will allow it to get the perfect texture.
No, you don't need to use wine in risotto, although it does give it an extra rich flavour. You can replace it with more stock.
As long as you make sure the stock is gluten free and there is no cross contamination, then this can be gluten free.
You don't add all the stock at once in a risotto. You add a ladle at a time, so the rice can gradually soak up the stock which gives you a creamier risotto at the end.
To make this vegan, leave out the cream fraiche and use a vegan alternative to parmesan. You will need to leave out the parma ham too.
• Try chopping the Parma Ham up and frying it for a minute to sprinkle crispy Parma Ham on top of your courgette risotto.
• You can use any cold leftovers to make arancini.
• If you don't want to use white wine, you can just swap it for the same amount of vegetable stock.
• Swap the courgette with aubergine, pumpkin or butternut squash for a seasonal twist.
• For even more creaminess in this risotto, add the rind of the parmesan to the pan and take out just before serving.
• Don't skip frying the rice before adding the stock, as this is important for the final consistency of the dish.
• For some extra freshness, add a squeeze of lemon juice to the risotto.
More risotto recipes
Courgette Risotto with Parma Ham
- 160 g Risotto (arborio) rice
- 1 tablespoon Olive oil
- 4 Shallots - diced
- 1 Celery - diced
- 2 Garlic clove - crushed
- 2 sprig Fresh rosemary - finely chopped
- 1 Courgette (zucchini) - diced
- 800 ml Vegetable stock
- 200 ml White wine
- 1 Lemon - (juice only)
- 4 tablespoon Reduced fat creme fraiche
- 2 tablespoon Pine nuts
- 30 g Parmesan - shaved
- 6 slices Parma Ham
- Heat the oil in a large pan and then add the garlic, shallots, celery and rosemary and gently cook for 3 minutes.1 tablespoon Olive oil, 4 Shallots, 1 Celery, 2 Garlic clove, 2 sprig Fresh rosemary
- Add the risotto rice and cook for 1 minute.160 g Risotto (arborio) rice
- Add the courgette, stir and cook for a further 1 minute.1 Courgette (zucchini)
- Pour the wine, lemon juice and a ladle of the stock in to the pan and gently simmer until the liquid is nearly gone. Keep adding ladles of stock one at a time and letting it reduce until you have used the stock and the rice is cooked - this will take around 30-35 minutes.200 ml White wine, 1 Lemon, 800 ml Vegetable stock
- Stir the creme fraiche into the risotto and then spoon in to a bowl. Top with Parma Ham, Parmesan and pine nuts.4 tablespoon Reduced fat creme fraiche, 30 g Parmesan, 6 slices Parma Ham, 2 tablespoon Pine nuts
- Try chopping the Parma Ham up and frying it for a minute to sprinkle crispy Parma Ham on top of your courgette risotto.
- You can use any cold leftovers to make arancini.
- If you don't want to use white wine, you can just swap it for the same amount of vegetable stock.
- Swap the courgette with aubergine, pumpkin or butternut squash for a seasonal twist.
- For even more creaminess in this risotto, add the rind of the parmesan to the pan and take out just before serving.
- Don't skip frying the rice before adding the stock, as this is important for the final consistency of the dish.
- For some extra freshness, add a squeeze of lemon juice to the risotto.