Why Lemon Risotto?
Someone wise once told me that when you are feeling down and that the world is against you, don’t focus all your energy on why you are sad but simply focus time each day where you are happy for just 5 minutes.
Looking back at all those minutes spent being happy, one can only agree that it is a life well spent.
Risotto is my ultimate comfort food and when I think about it, brings me not simply five minutes of pure happiness but thirty-five!
Twenty minutes are spent simply enjoying continuously stirring. Focusing energy on this somewhat mindless activity makes all life’s’ worries seem to disappear. The other fifteen are spent enjoying (with a huge smile) the fruits of my labour.
This risotto has a fresh citrus tartness that is balanced by the creaminess of the rice and Parmesan. The burnt almond and sage butter add further nutty creaminess while creating a bit of texture.
2 shallots, finely chopped
1 celery stalk, finely chopped
60g unsalted butter
1 tablespoon olive oil
300g risotto rice (I prefer Vialone Nano)
1 litre vegetable stock (store bought is fine)
Zest and juice of 1 lemon
1/3 cup (4 tablespoons) freshly grated Parmesan
1/3 cup (4 tablespoons) cream
6 sage leaves
1/3 cup (4 tablespoons) flaked almonds
Heat 20g of butter and olive oil in a wide saucepan, add the shallots, celery and a pinch of salt and cook for 5 minutes on a medium heat until soft. Mix in the rice and stir to coat all the grains in the butter and oil.
Pour a ladle of stock into the rice and continue to stir until the stock is absorbed. Add another ladle and stir again. Continue to do this until the rice is cooked until al dente (the grain should have a slight bite to it).
In the meantime mix the lemon zest, juice, cream, Parmesan and pepper together in a small bowl.
When the risotto is al dente and the stock is absorbed turn the heat down to low and while stirring add the lemon cream mixture. Cook for 1 minute and take off the heat.
In a small saucepan over a high heat, melt the rest of the butter with the almonds and sage leaves. Cook for 3 minutes or until the almonds are brown, the leaves are crispy and the butter is nutty brown.
Immediately pour over the risotto and serve.
Serves 2 as a main or 4 as a starter.