Creamy Lemon Risotto

I remembered an episode of Nigella Bites where she made lemon risotto.  Since the ingredients were at hand and having made vegetable stock yesterday, it was the perfect moment to cook it.  I love the creamy texture and the light tartness of the juice and zest of just half a lemon in this dish.
 What makes this risotto extra creamy is a mixture of heavy cream and an egg yolk, which is added at the last stage of cooking. 
Oh and the cheese.  Let's not forget about the cheese - freshly grated Parmesan.  The recipe calls for 60 grams but I like cheese so I definitely put more than that.
The only thing I dislike about making risotto is once you start ladling the stock, that's it - your feet are pretty much glued to the floor. You have to constantly stir the rice so they don't stick to the bottom of the pan.  This process takes at least 20 minutes so you're practically immobile save for your arm that stirs the rice.  Well, you could always switch to the other when you feel like it's going to fall off.

However, hard work from all that stirring and sweating won't be in vain.  What you'll get is a creamy, tangy goodness that would make you want to put your feet up while you eat.  

Lemon Risotto (adapted from Nigella Lawson):
  • 2 shallots
  • 1 stick of celery
  • 60g unsalted butter
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 300g risotto rice
  • 1 liter vegetable stock
  • Zest and juice of 1/2 lemon
  • Needles from 2 small sprigs of fresh rosemary, finely chopped
  • 1 egg yolk
  • 60ml (4 tablespoons) grated Parmesan cheese, plus more to sprinkle
  • 60ml (4 tablespoons) heavy cream
  • salt, to taste
  • Good grating pepper, preferably white   

Finely chop the shallots and celery.

Heat half the butter, the oil and the shallot and celery mixture in a wide saucepan, and cook to soften the mixture for about 5 minutes. Mix in the rice, stirring to give it a good coating of oil and butter. Meanwhile, heat the stock in another saucepan and keep it at simmering point.

Pour a ladleful of the stock into the rice and keep stirring until the stock is absorbed. Then add another ladleful and stir again. Continue doing this until the rice is al dente. You may not need all of the stock; equally, you may need to add hot water.

Mix the lemon zest and the rosemary into the risotto, and in a small bowl beat the egg yolk, lemon juice, Parmesan, cream and pepper. 

When the risotto is ready - when the rice is no longer chalky, but still has some bite - take it off the heat and add the bowl of eggy, lemony mixture, and the remaining butter and salt to taste. Check the seasoning, and serve with more grated Parmesan if you wish.


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