Risotto alla Limone
Why I Love This Recipe
I love Risotto; Even the process of making it is relaxing. I also love ANYTHING that contains Lemon. I have to give a speech on rice here, because the rice you use is what makes your risotto into risotto, or just an overcooked pilaf. I have seen recipes claiming that you can make fantastic risotto with any long grain rice. I wonder if these people have ever had really good risotto and just don't know what they are missing. You have at least six choices but three are the most common. Arborio, Carnaroli and Vialone Nano. The first two are much easier to find than the third. There are, also, Baldo, Roma and Padano, but I have never seen them at the market. These rices are very special. Why? you ask. Because they contain the 'Golden Ratio' of the two starches found in rice. Amylose and Amylopectin. Rice that is high in amylose, a long straight starch molecule that does not gelatinize during cooking and crystalizes when cold, creates fluffy rice such as Basmati and Jasmine. Rice high in Amylopectin, a multi-branched molecule that becomes sticky when released during cooking, results in a very clumpy rice such as Sushi rice that is able to hold it's shape. Somewhere in between these two extremes is the perfect balance of amylose and amylopectin that creates a medium-firm textured rice combined with an unparalleled creamyness that cannot be duplicated by any long grain or sushi rice. The second most important thing is the stirring of the Risotto. You must stir to force the grains to rub against each other, releasing the amylopectin into the broth and thus creating the silky mouth feel that good risotto is known for. Third and final, you must not add chilled wine or cold broth to your risotto during the cooking process. Heat your broth on a separate burner and have your wine at least at room temperature. If you add cold wine after the saute, you will shock the rice, if you add cold or luke warm broth during the remainder of the cooking process, you will start a cycle of cooling & reheating as the cold liquid comes back up to a boil. This is not good for the rice and makes it gummy. It will also double the cooking time. So without further comment, here is my recipe for Lemon Risotto.
Ingredients You'll Need
3 - 3 1/2 cups Chicken or Vegetable Stock (If using Salted stock, leave out the Kosher salt)
3 TB Unsalted Butter, divided
1 Medium shallot, diced
1 Clove of Garlic, Minced
1 cup Arborio or Carnaroli rice (Arborio is easier to find)
1/2 cup room temperature dry white wine (Sauvignon Blanc or Pinot Grigio)
2 TB grated Asiago d'Allevo, Grana Padano, or Parmagiano-Reggiano
2 TB Mascarpone cheese (Although you can use Creme Fraiche)
1/2 a lemon, zested and juiced
3/4 tsp kosher salt
3/4 tsp finely ground White Pepper
optional - Pine Nuts to garnish
Bring the stock to a simmer in a small sauce pan over low heat. Cover to keep it hot .
In a medium, heavy saucepan, melt 2 TB of the butter over medium heat.
Add the shallot and sweat until it begins to turn translucent; then add the garlic and continue to sweat for another minute
Add the rice and stir to coat with the butter. (This is very similar to making a rice pilaf).
Add the room temperature wine and simmer until it has almost evaporated, about 3 minutes.
Add 1/2 cup of simmering broth and stir until almost completely absorbed, about 2 minutes.
Continue adding the broth 1/2 cup at a time, stirring frequently and allowing each addition of the broth to absorb and pull the starch out of the rice before adding the next, until the rice is tender but still al dente and the mixture is creamy, about 18 - 20 minutes. (Which is pretty standard for Risotto)
Remove from the heat and stir in the remaining tablespoon of butter, 2 TB of grated cheese, mascarpone cheese, the lemon zest and juice, and the salt and pepper.
Cover and allow to rest for 3-5 minutes.
Serve with a lemon slice and a sprinkle of pine nuts
Serves 4 as a side dish