goat cheese & summer squash risotto

it has been a bizarre week of thunderstorms, downpours and misty rain. i spent one rainy day at the russian spa in seattle, soaking in tubs and melting away in the sauna. another rainy day, i sat on our balcony while it thundered and dumped buckets of rain from the sky - yet still warm and humid, it was quite an experience just reading my book while listening to thunder roll through the city. it doesn't feel like fall has crept in yet. just strange weather worthy of a cozy bowl of creamy risotto and summer squash. this next week promises warmer weather. nevertheless, i am still fully enjoying my risotto leftovers (which, by the way, are best re-heated over a stove with an additional splash of broth and a fresh sprinkling of parmesan). 

goat cheese & summer squash risotto ~ serves 6

2 cups arborio rice
1/2 cup white wine
6-8 cups homemade broth 
2 shallots
1 large clove garlic
2 small zucchini 
several sprigs fresh thyme
5 oz chevre goat cheese
1/4 cup grated parmesan cheese
3-5 tablespoons olive oil
salt and pepper

note: i happened to have an excessive amount of home-made chicken broth i had made the previous week, which was fabulous in this dish. if you don't have homemade broth on hand, use any type of broth you prefer. 

start by heating your broth in a saucepan. bring to a simmer and turn heat off to low. 

cut washed zucchini in half lengthwise, and slice into quarter-inch thick half moons. peel and finely mince 1 glove of garlic. in a large saute pan, heat 1 tablespoon olive oil over medium-low heat. add zucchini and garlic and saute until zucchini is fully cooked. add more oil if necessary. once cooked, remove from heat and set zucchini aside in a small bowl. 

thinly slice shallots and pick the thyme away from the stems. using the same saute pan, heat an additional 2 tablespoons of olive oil over medium heat and saute shallots with the fresh thyme until the shallots translucent. add uncooked rice, and fry for 2 minutes, stirring frequently - coating the rice with oil. add more oil if needed to keep rice from burning. deglaze the pan with 1/2 cup white wine. add a ladle full of hot broth to the rice and stir constantly until it is almost fully absorbed. continue adding a ladle of broth at a time, allowing the rice to absorb most of the moisture before adding more fluid. continue cooking and stirring for about 20-30 minutes until desired consistency. the rice should not be overcooked or overly mushy, but the starches from the rice should release into the broth creating a creamy, saucy texture. once the rice is fully cooked, stir in crumbled goat cheese and the pre-cooked zucchini. salt and pepper to taste. serve with a sprinkling of grated parmesan.