This easy recipe for cheesy zucchini pesto risotto will quickly become a dinner time favourite! Imagine the flavours of creamy alfredo sauce and basil pesto, combined to create a creamy, earthy pasta sauce, then add some fresh, vitamin-rich zucchini for a boost of nutrition.
This light and healthy risotto is a healthy meal option for families, especially if you have some picky toddlers in the house! I’m not keen on regularly sneaking veggies into my kid’s meals however, sometimes a little white lie in the kitchen is in order.
My children have always eaten their veggies (or at least tasted them), yet as open-minded as they are, they sill have their phases when they swear off a particular vegetable-in this case, zucchini!
This morning after my kids and I picked some fresh zucchini from our garden, I was inspired to create a recipe with zucchini as the star ingredient.
Initially, I planned on making a frittata (knowing very well that my kids aren’t too keen on eggs at the moment). Instead, I whipped up this simple recipe in the hopes that I could create a meal that my kids would enjoy too.
Zucchini has such a mild flavour so it worked well in this recipe, plus it’s flavour is somewhat overpowered by the rich, creamy cheese, salty Parmesan, and earthy basil. It can be compared to a rich alfredo sauce, yet lighter and obviously healthier than the traditional cream sauce, plus it packs a nutritional punch from the vitamin C-rich zucchini.
Needless to say, my effort was not in vain! My kids devoured this…and asked for seconds! Rice was on the menu today however, this sauce would be an ideal condiment for pasta, as a substitute for traditional tomato sauce.
This creamy zucchini pesto risotto is ideal for babies 6+months thanks to it’s mild flavours and simple ingredients. The sauce can be prepared in bulk and stored in baby cubes in the freezer for up to 6 months.
If you try this recipe (and love it!) be sure to snap a pic and tag me on Instagram with #bitesforfoodies so I can see your creation!
Heat oil in a medium frying pan on medium heat for 1-2 minutes. Add the sliced zucchini and sautee for 5-7 minutes or until translucent. Season with salt and pepper to taste. Set aside for a few minutes to cool.
In the meantime, cook the rice for 1-2 minutes less than the package instructions to ensure it remains al dente. Before draining the rice, set aside about 1/2 cup of the cooking water.
Combine the zucchini with the remaining ingredients and 1/4 cup of the rice cooking water in a small food processor. Puree until smooth and creamy. If desired, add more cooking water until you get the desired consistency.
After draining the rice (avoid rinsing it since this washes away all of the starches which thicken the risotto) return to the pot, add the zucchini pesto, and heat through on low heat for 1-2 minutes. Garnish with Parmesan cheese and fresh parsely, if desired. Season with salt and pepper to taste.