At the center of Italian food is always La Famiglia. The table is where you laugh, cry, shout and share your love. Living 3000 miles away from the extended families we treasure any opportunity to create shared experiences. Quite naturally we were thrilled when our niece, a recent university graduate decided to spend a few days with us before a well deserved holiday in Southeast Asia. It was time to plan a most spectacular welcome dinner that would be manageable while sipping a glass of wine and catching up. Lemon Risotto would be a sensational way to start our meal.
Risotto should not be feared but embraced, actually it is quite simple to prepare for guests, only requiring some planning. From start to finish risotto requires 18 to 20 minutes of attentive stirring, a wonderful opportunity to get your guests involved.
The fresh acidic flavor of lemon and crisp white wine are nicely balanced by the creamy rice enhanced with butter and parmigiano. Any number of of veal, fish or chicken dishes would make an excellent secondi with Lemon Risotto.
You don’t need a celebration to prepare Lemon Risotto, but it is certainly lovely when you have one… Buon viaggio Bella Ragazza da Atlanta e torna presto!
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- 2½ to 2¾ of clear vegetable or chicken broth
- 1 large shallot minced
- 4 Tbs. unsalted butter
- 1 cup of Arborio, Carnoroli, or Vialone Nano rice
- ½ cup dry white wine
- ½ cup freshly grated Parmigiano
- Zest of one large lemon
- Juice of one large lemon
- Large pinch of kosher salt
- Freshly ground black pepper
- Lemon peel & mint sprigs
- Have the broth in a saucepan over a low flame to insure that it is hot.
- The ingredients should be prepared as directed and near the stove. Serving bowls should be in a low oven to keep warm.
- In a medium sized heavy saucepan melt 2 tablespoons of the butter over medium heat. Once the butter has melted stir in the minced shallots and cook for several minutes until the shallots are soft and translucent.
- Add the rice to the pan and stir well to coat with the butter and shallots.
- Add the white wine to the saucepan, stirring as the wine evaporates over the medium flame. Once the wine has evaporated begin to add the hot broth about ½ cup at a time. The rice should be stirred constantly during this period, only adding the ½ cup of broth once the liquid has been absorbed. As you continue to add the hot broth the rice will become more creamy in texture. Continue in this manner until you have added 2½ cups of the hot broth (the ingredient list asks for 2¾ cups of broth as I am allowing for evaporation). The risotto will be a mass of creamy pearls while still retaining a nice inner kernel. The entire process should take between 18 and 20 minutes.
- Remove the pot from the heat, season with salt. Stir in half of the fresh lemon juice, incorporating it into the rice mixture. Now add the lemon zest, remaining 2 tablespoons of butter, ¼ cup of the Parmgiano and pepper; stir vigorously until the butter has melted. Taste for acidity and seasoning, if you would like your risotto a bit more lemony add more of the fresh lemon juice and stir well to incorporate. Correct the seasoning if necessary.
- Immediately serve the risotto in the 4 warm bowls, garnish with some of the grated Parmigiano, a sprig of mint and a few pieces of lemon peel.