Lemon Risotto

Last month my mother-in-law was staying with us following a surgery on her foot. While it wasn’t the best experience for her, we always welcome the opportunity to see her (and any family members of course!) since she and Kyle’s step-dad moved away last year. Unfortunately Kyle ended up being away for work for most of her time up here, but we still had a great girls-only visit (well, other than the painful foot situation).

Kyle’s mom (and sister – who still lives here) had decided to start Weight Watchers not long before she arrived here – so I got to attempt some light(er) eating over the 2 weeks. I can attest that Weight Watchers agreed with them – my sister-in-law looks A-M-A-Z-I-N-G! And right before her Burlesque show next week! I, however, did not fair so well. I suspect I ate more throughout the day due to my low caloric intake at dinnertime … I’m pretty sure I gained weight. I guess the verdict is that there will be no calorie counting for this girl…just good ‘ol eating balanced meals and working my butt off in the gym after I cram my face full of deep fried chicken wings.

So, after a few weeks of eating low-cal meals, I felt both myself & my mother-in-law deserved some indulgence. Plus Kyle was back from a food-deprived trip, so he also needed a treat. On the menu for our “cheat” meal: buttery shrimp scampi, minted peas, and a creamy, ooooooooozy, lemon risotto. I did not hold back on this. There was butter. There was cream. There was cheese. There was even an egg yolk. Yeah, just one more high-cholesterol smack in the heart for us. And it was good.

Lemon Risotto

6 cups vegetable stock
1 Tbsp olive oil
1/4 cup red onion, small diced
1 clove garlic, minced
1/2 tsp kosher salt
1 tsp fresh rosemary – or 1/2 tsp dried
1 1/4 cup arborio rice
1/2 cup dry white wine
1 lemon
1 egg yolk
1/4 cup half & half cream
1/4 cup parmesan, grated
1 Tbsp cold butter
fresh ground pepper & sea salt

Warm the vegetable stock over medium heat. Keep warm.

Heat the olive oil over medium-high heat in a small dutch oven (or large saucepan…or even a fancy risotto pan if you happen to have one of those lying around). Add the onion, garlic, and salt and saute for approximately 5 minutes, stirring frequently, until soft. Add the rosemary and rice to the pan and stir to coat each grain with the olive oil. Let the rice saute for about 3 minutes and then add the white wine, stirring until most of it is absorbed. Begin adding the vegetable stock to the rice – a ladle-or-so-full – at a time. Stir each addition of stock into the rice and add more once the rice has absorbed most of the liquid. Continue to do this for approximately 20-25 minutes, or until all/most of the stock is absorbed and the rice is cooked (I prefer mine cooked al-dente). Remember to continue to stir the rice (in one direction preferably) throughout the cooking process so you end up with a creamy risotto that doesn’t stick to the bottom of your cookware.

Meanwhile, zest and juice the lemon and set aside. Whisk together the egg yolk and cream and set aside.

Once the rice is cooked, take it off the heat. Stir in the zest and juice of the lemon, the cream mixture, the parmesan cheese, and the butter. Make sure everything is combined. Have a taste and stir in some pepper and sea salt to your desired level of season.

Serves 4-6.

(Note: The photos don’t quite match the recipe…as I typically add the rosemary when I add the rice to the pan. However, this time – during Lemon Ristotto photo shoot – I didn’t add it until I had started to add the broth. Please add it when you add the rice. You’re taste buds will be happier.)


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