Risotto Stuffed Peppers and Courgettes

  • 4 cups chicken stock
  • 1 teaspoon orange zest
  • 1 teaspoon lemon zest
  • Generous pinch saffron threads
  • 2 medium courgettes
  • 2 red peppers, halved lengthwise and seeded
  • 4 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil, plus more for drizzling
  • Salt and freshly ground pepper
  • 4 cloves garlic, finely chopped
  • 1 medium onion, finely chopped
  • 1 1/2 cups Arborio rice
  • 1/2 cup dry white wine
  • 1 cup grated Parmigiano Reggiano
  • 2 tablespoons butter
  • Juice of 1/2 lemon
  • Juice of 1/2 orange
  • 1/2 cup panko or homemade breadcrumbs
  • 1/2 cup finely chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley, or a combination of parsley and fresh mint

Combine the chicken stock, 2 cups water, the orange and lemon zests and the saffron in a pot, and bring to a low simmer.

Halve the courgette lengthwise and gently scrape out the center flesh and seeds. Chop the center flesh and seeds and reserve. Halve each courgette again crosswise. Arrange the courgette and peppers cut-side up in a baking dish. Drizzle with extra virgin olive oil and season with salt and pepper.

Heat 2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil in a round-bottomed risotto pot or pan over medium to medium-high heat. Add the garlic and onions and cook, stirring, until softened, 2 to 3 minutes. Add the chopped zucchini and season with salt and pepper. Cook, stirring often, until lightly browned, 2 to 3 more minutes. Stir in the rice, then add the wine and cook until evaporated, about 1 minute. Add the stock mixture a few ladles at a time, stirring vigorously after each addition and allowing the liquid to mostly evaporate before adding more. The rice will take about 18 minutes to cook to al dente. In the last minute or so of cooking, stir in 1/2 cup cheese, the butter and the lemon and orange juices.

Scoop the risotto into the vegetables.

Preheat the oven to 200°C.

Combine the remaining 2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil and 1/2 cup cheese with the breadcrumbs. Sprinkle over the tops of the risotto filling. Cover with foil and bake for 35 minutes. Uncover and bake until the tops are browned, 10 to 15 more minutes. Garnish with the parsley.

Cook's Note: If you are not serving the dish immediately, fill the vegetables with the risotto and let cool (do not bake). Cover and store in the refrigerator. When ready to serve, bake as directed.

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