Lemon risotto is a creamy and flavorful dish that’s perfect for any occasion. Its bright and zesty flavor pairs well with a wide range of meats and vegetables, and works perfectly as both a side dish and a main course.
Why this recipe works
- Simple ingredients: This recipe uses simple ingredients that are easy to find at any grocery store. You don’t need any exotic or hard-to-find ingredients to make this dish.
- Cooking technique: The technique used to make this risotto involves slowly cooking the rice in broth, which releases the starches and creates a creamy texture. This results in a perfectly cooked and creamy risotto.
- Bright lemon flavor: The addition of lemon zest and juice adds a bright and refreshing flavor to the dish. It complements the creaminess of the risotto and adds a burst of citrus flavor.
- Savory parmesan cheese: The grated Parmesan cheese adds a nutty and salty flavor to the dish. It complements the lemon flavor and adds richness to the risotto.
What is Lemon Risotto
Lemon Risotto is a classic Italian dish that is creamy, savory, and bursting with bright lemon flavor. It’s a simple yet elegant dish that’s perfect for a cozy night in or a dinner party with friends.
Risotto is a type of Italian rice dish that’s made by slowly cooking Arborio rice in broth until it becomes creamy and tender. It’s a versatile dish that can be made with a variety of ingredients, such as vegetables, seafood, and meats.
The addition of lemon and parmesan cheese to the dish adds a tangy and savory flavor that complements the creaminess of the risotto. The lemon adds a refreshing citrus note, while the parmesan cheese provides a nutty and salty flavor.
Best ingredients for Lemon Risotto
- Arborio rice: This short-grain Italian rice is perfect for making lemon risotto because it releases starch and creates a creamy texture when cooked.
- Chicken or vegetable broth: The broth is used to cook the rice and adds flavor to the dish. You can use either chicken or vegetable broth depending on your preference.
- Dry white wine: Dry wine perfectly enhances the lemon risotto flavor.
- Onion and garlic: These aromatics add flavor and depth to the dish.
- Butter: The butter adds richness and creaminess to the risotto.
- Grated parmesan cheese: The parmesan cheese adds a nutty and salty flavor to the dish.
- Olive oil: The olive oil is used to sauté the onion and garlic.
- Lemon zest and juice: These two are the key ingredients in the lemon risotto recipe that add a bright and refreshing flavor to the dish.
- Salt and pepper: These seasonings are used to enhance the flavors of the dish.
- Fresh parsley: The parsley is used as a garnish and adds a fresh flavor to the dish.
How to make Lemon Risotto
Please note: That is just an overview – you can find the full recipe at the bottom of this page.
Step 1: Heat the broth. In a medium saucepan, heat the broth over low heat until it’s warm.
Step 2: Sauté the onion and garlic. In a large saucepan or Dutch oven, heat the olive oil over medium heat. Add the onion and garlic, and sauté until the onion is soft and translucent, about 3-4 minutes.
Step 3: Toast the rice. Add the Arborio rice to the pan and stir to coat it in the oil. Cook for 2-3 minutes, stirring occasionally, until the rice is lightly toasted.
Step 4: Add the wine. Add the white wine to the pan and stir until it’s absorbed by the rice.
Step 5: Add the broth. Begin adding the warm broth to the rice mixture, one cup at a time, stirring constantly until each cup of broth is absorbed before adding the next. Continue to stir frequently to ensure that the rice doesn’t stick to the pan.
Step 6: Finish the dish. When the rice is tender and the mixture is creamy, after about 20-25 minutes, remove the pan from heat. Add the butter, parmesan cheese, lemon zest, and lemon juice to the pan and stir until the butter is melted and the cheese is fully incorporated. Season with salt and pepper if needed. Serve and garnish with fresh parsley.
Storing and freezing tips
If you have any leftovers, you can store the lemon risotto in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 3 days. To reheat, simply add a splash of broth or water to the risotto and microwave it until it’s heated through. You may also reheat it on the stovetop by adding a bit of broth or water and stirring frequently until it’s hot.
If you want to freeze your lemon risotto, you can do so, but be aware that the texture may not be as creamy once it’s been frozen and reheated. To freeze, let the risotto cool to room temperature, then transfer it to a freezer-safe container or freezer bag. You can freeze it for up to 3 months. When you’re ready to eat it, let it thaw overnight in the refrigerator, then reheat it on the stovetop or in the microwave
Top tips for the best Lemon Risotto
- Use high-quality ingredients. Because lemon risotto is a relatively simple recipe, it’s important to use the best quality ingredients you can find, especially the Arborio rice and parmesan cheese.
- Warm your broth before adding it to the risotto. Adding cold broth to hot risotto can slow down the cooking process and make it more difficult to achieve the desired texture. By warming the broth beforehand, you’ll ensure that the risotto cooks evenly and at a steady pace.
- Don’t stop stirring! Stirring the risotto constantly as you add the broth will help release the starch from the rice, creating a creamy texture. It also prevents the rice from sticking to the bottom of the pan and burning.
- Use a Dutch oven or large, heavy-bottomed pot. Because risotto requires frequent stirring, it’s important to use a pot that distributes heat evenly and has a heavy bottom to prevent burning.
- Taste as you go. Seasoning is crucial in risotto, so be sure to taste the risotto frequently as you add the broth and adjust the seasoning as needed.
- Add the lemon juice and zest at the end. Lemon juice can cause the rice to break down and become mushy if it’s added too early. By waiting until the end to add the lemon, you’ll ensure that the rice retains its texture while still incorporating the bright, zesty flavor.
Can I use a different type of rice than Arborio rice for the risotto recipe?
No, Arborio rice is the best choice for risotto because it’s high in starch and creates the creamy texture that’s characteristic of risotto.
Can I skip the wine in lemon risotto?
While the wine does add flavor to the risotto, you can skip it if you prefer. Just be sure to add an extra 1/2 cup of broth in its place.
Can I use a different type of cheese than parmesan?
While parmesan cheese is traditional in risotto, you can use another hard, nutty cheese like Pecorino Romano if you prefer.
How do I know when the risotto is done?
The risotto should be tender with a creamy consistency. This should take about 20-25 minutes of cooking and stirring. Taste the risotto frequently as you cook and adjust the seasoning as needed.
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