Risotto al Limone

It’s hard to photograph rice and make it look appetizing, but the results are sensational – creamy with a bright lemon flavor.

Today’s recipe is from 100 Great Risottos, by Valentina Harris, and a break from my usual Leek, Mushroom and Lemon Risotto from Best-Ever Vegetarian (lame name, isn’t it?? but a great cookbook), Linda Fraser as Consultant Editor.  If you add garlic and cremini (or other variety) mushroom and saute with the leeks, your results will be close to what I normally make. Salute!!

Risotto with Lemon
100 Great Risottos, Valentina Harris
Serves 4++
Allow 1 1/2 hours prep time.

2 shallots or 1 leek (white only), finely chopped
100g / 4oz unsalted butter
350g / 13oz risotto rice, such as Arborio, Vialone Nano or Carnoroli (I actually used a Brown Basmati rice)
1 large glass dry white wine
100g / 4oz cubed full-fat cheese such as Bel Paese or Fontina (I shredded an aged cheddar)
up to 2 litres / 8 cups vegetable or light chicken stock, kept simmering
zest and juice of 2 small or 1 large lemon (unwaxed or scrubbed well)
1 Tbs. Limoncello liquer, optional (you could have use lemon extract… but I skipped it all together)
sea salt and fresh ground black pepper
freshly grated Parmigiano Reggiano to serve (I also skipped this – the final result was rich enough for me)

Melt half the butter in a large pan and fry the shallots/leeks very gently until soft and translucent.  Add the rice and fry, making sure that the rice and shallots do not brown.

Add half the wine and stir until the liquid has been absorbed and the alcohol has evaporated.  Add the rest of the wine and repeat as before.

Add the first ladleful of stock and the cubed cheese.  Mix thoroughly and, when all the liquid has been absorbed, add another ladleful of stock, stirring constantly and allowing the liquid to be absorbed before adding more. Repeat until all the stock has been added and absorbed.

When the risotto is creamy and tender but firm to the bite, stir in the lemon zest, lemon juice and Limoncello.  Allow the alcohol to boil off for 1 minute, then stir in the remaining butter.  Check the seasoning, cover the pan and leave to rest for 1 minute.  Serve immediately.  Offer grated cheese separately.

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