A Quick Break With Lemon Risotto

&tBefore we get back to Menu For Hope IIIraised over $5000 in just the first day! And wait ’til you see the new prizes I’m about to post…) let’s take a quick break with lemon risotto. After all, many of you are at work and what would your day be like if you kept clicking back to the donation page to see how many people bid on your prizes like UE14 New York in a Box or UE15 An Amateur Gourmet Lunch at Your Office? Well it’d be a lot like mine. So let’s look at lemon risotto:

This wonderful recipe comes from Patricia Wells’ Trattoria, a book heavily recommended by the beloved Heidi Swanson of 101 Cookbooks (her prizes are faring well I bet… you can get a photography lesson with her with prize code UW10). I made this recipe last week when it was still ugly and cold outside and it really hit the spot. It’s relaxing to stand there and stir. The smells are terrific: a perfect balance of lemon and herb, a balance that holds up when you taste it too. So what are you waiting for? Grab some lemons, some mint, some rosemary, and let’s go…

Lemon Risotto (Risotto al Limone)


– About 5 Cups chicken stock, preferably homemade [Note: I used about 6 cups. End note.]

– Sprig of fresh mint

– Sprig of fresh rosemary

– Sprig of fresh sage

– Grated zest (yellow peel) of 1 lemon

– 4 Tbs (2 oz) unsalted butter

– 1 Tbs extra-virgin olive oil

– 2 shallots, minced

– Sea salt to taste

– 1 1/2 cups Italian Arborio rice

– 3 Tbs freshly squeezed lemon juice

– 1/2 cup (2 oz) freshly grated Italian Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese, plus additional for table

1. In a large saucepan, heat the stock and keep it simmering, at barely a whisper, while you prepare the risotto.

2. Stem the fresh herbs. Combine the leaves with the lemon zest and, with a large chef’s knife, chop finely. Set aside.

3. In a large heavy-bottomed saucepan, combine 2 Tbs of the butter, the oil, shallots, and salt over moderate heat. Cook, stirring, until the shallots are soft and translucent, about 3 minutes. (Do not let the shallots brown.) Add the rice, and stir until the rice is well coated with the fats, glistening and semi-translucent, 1 to 2 minutes. (This step is important for good risotto: The heat and fat will help separate the grains of rice, ensuring a creamy consistency in the end.)

4. When the rice becomes shiny and partly translucent, add a ladleful of the stock. Cook, stirring constantly, until the rice has absorbed most of the stock, 1 to 2 minutes. Add another ladleful of the simmering stock, and stir regularly until all of the broth is absorbed. Adjust the heat as necessary to maintain a gentle simmer. The rice should cook slowly and should always be covered with a veil of stock. Continue adding ladlefuls of stock, stirring frequently and tasting regularly, until the rice is almost tender but firm to the bite, about 17 minutes total. The risotto should have a creamy, porridge-like consistency.

5. Remove the saucepan from the heat and stir in the remaining 2 Tbs butter, the lemon zest and herbs, lemon juice and the Parmesan. Cover and let stand off the heat for 2 minutes, to allow the flavors to blend. Taste for seasoning. Transfer to warmed shallow soup bowls, and serve immediately, passing additional cheese. Risotto waits for no one.

Yield: 4 to 6 servings.

3 thoughts on “A Quick Break With Lemon Risotto”

  1. That is by far my favorite risotto recipe ever! When I saw the title of this post, I thought to myself, “I hope he used Patricia Wells’s recipe…”

  2. I made this last night and it was delicious. Pure comfort food. It also reminded me that I own this cookbook and that I need to put it back in my cooking rotation.

  3. Lemon risotto is one of my favorite kinds of risotto and incidentally, one of my personal specialties. My recipe even got printed in a local magazine a while back. Woo woo! I have never seen the recipe with mint, sage and rosemary though. I tend to use my home grown basil and that’s it. I’ll have to try the other herbs and see how I like it! ~Monica

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