Wednesday, September 08, 2010

Ridiculous Lemon Risotto

I. can't. help. myself. From the first bite of this risotto, I was completely done for. It is absolute heaven. I don't recall what initially compelled me to try it, really. I suppose I was perusing recipes a year or so ago and stumbled upon it. I do know that I adore lemon. And I could easily devour a block of parmesan in an hour's time. And maybe I had it in a restaurant somewhere and wanted to try it? Whatever the motivation, I made it one day and it has, since, been a standard in my kitchen. I can't have it enough and experience at least a weekly craving for this savory, creamy gift from above. Seriously, to die for.

A bit of info: Risotto is best made with arborio rice, a fat, oval, short-grained rice originally grown in the Po Valley of Italy (though readily available in your local grocery, never to fear!). Arborio is vital to the success of any risotto due to its high starch content. As the rice absorbs the liquid, its starches are released, and this, my friends, is what makes it so-creamy. So don't skimp on the rice thinking just any kind will do. It's just not so. Trust me, you want as much starchy goodness as you can get. Now, to aid in "creaming" the risotto, if you will, it's necessary to do some pretty frequent stirring. Otherwise, it won't cook quite as evenly or absorb up the broth quite as well. So, I recommend turning on a favorite Pandora station (try The Avett Brothers. or Patty Griffin. both great ones), opening the kitchen window (as appropriate), and devoting some sweet time to your soon-to-be-favorite rice dish. Definitely prep all your ingredients beforehand or you'll find yourself frantically grating and chopping and zesting and juicing in a messy rush at the end, while attempting to stir at the same time. Not so easy. Well, I think it's high time for some risotto, eh? Savor it. Every bite. It'll go quick.

borrowed from Smitten Kitchen
serves 6 appetizer-sized portions

6 cups low-sodium chicken broth
3 1/2 tablespoons butter, divided
1 1/2 tablespoons olive oil
2 large shallots, chopped
2 cups arborio rice
1/4 cup dry white wine
1 cup freshly grated parmesan cheese (3 ounces-ish. i usually add more on top at the end. of course.)
2 tablespoons fresh parsley, chopped
2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice (~1-2 lemons. buy several to have enough for juice and zest.)
4 teaspoons grated lemon peel (fyi: make sure to only grate the yellow part. not the white. it's awfully bitter.)

1. Heat broth in large saucepan over medium heat. Cover and reduce to simmer.
2. In an even larger, heavy saucepan, melt 1 1/2 tablespoons of butter with the oil over medium heat.
3. Add shallots and saute for about 5 minutes, or until tender.
4. Add rice and stir for 1 minute.
5. Add wine (i love the sound and smell of this part) and stir until evaporated, around 30 seconds.
6. Turn your heat down a hair (a 4/10 on my stove) and add 1 1/2 cups heated broth, stirring frequently until absorbed (a few minutes).
7. Continue to add broth 1/2 cup at a time, stirring frequently and allowing a few minutes for each bit to be absorbed before adding more. Just keep on stirrin' until the rice is al dente and creamy (~35 minutes).
8. Stir in cheese and remaining 2 tablespoons of butter.
9. Stir in parsley, lemon juice, and lemon peel.
10. Add salt and pepper, to taste, top with more grated parmesan if you wish (i do), and serve it up! 


  1. I will just have to take your word on this one... Lemon flavored rice? To die for? My dear, we need to switch countries.

  2. While i've never been much of a lemon fan, this recipe has surely converted me! Wow! a winner for sure. Thanks for capturing this new favorite with such eye catching photos as well. Our friend Ina would be proud to borrow this one.

  3. did you take this photo too? yum