We are using water and a little wine for the liquid in this recipe, to accentuate the lemon flavor. You could also easily use stock.
- Kosher salt
- 1 1/2 quarts (6 cups) water
- 3 Tbsp olive oil
- 1 Tbsp butter
- 3/4 cup finely chopped onion (about 1/2 a med onion)
- 2 cups arborio rice or other risotto rice
- 1 cup white wine
- 1 or 2 Meyer lemons, enough for 1 Tbsp of zest, and 3 Tbsp of juice (if using regular lemons instead of Meyer, you'll need less juice, start with 1 Tbsp and add more to taste)
- 1 Tbsp of chopped, fresh oregano leaves (can also use mint)
- 1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
- 1/4 cup lightly toasted pine nuts (optional)
- 1/4 cup finely grated Parmesan (optional)
1 Put 1 1/2 quarts (6 cups) of water into a pot. Add 1 level tablespoon of kosher salt (or 2 level teaspoons if you are using table salt). Bring to a boil. Lower the heat to warm, cover and keep warm while you make the risotto.
2 In a large, wide sauté pan, heat olive oil and butter on medium heat. Add the onions and cook until translucent, about 5 minutes.
3 Add arborio rice. Stir to coat. Cook, stirring, 5-7 minutes, until the rice just barely begins to brown on some of the grains.
4 Add the wine. Stir continuously, a few minutes, until the liquid has been completely absorbed by the rice.
5 Lower the heat to medium low. Start adding the hot salted water to the rice, one ladleful (about 1/2 cup) at a time. After each addition, stir continuously for a few minutes until the rice has completely absorbed the liquid. Stir enough to keep the rice from sticking to the edge of the pan. Stirring continuously helps extract starch from the rice, to make a creamy sauce for the rice. You'll end up adding a total of about 4 to 5 cups of water, depending on the rice you are using (older rice may need more water). Continue to add water and stir, until the rice is cooked through and just a tiny bit chewy. The whole process should take about 30 minutes or so. Risotto is a labor of love.
6 Stir in 2 Tablespoons of the lemon juice, the lemon zest, chopped oregano, and black pepper, reserving a little bit of lemon zest and oregano to sprinkle on top upon service. Do a taste test. If the rice needs more seasoning, add more salt and pepper. Add more lemon juice if you want.
To serve, sprinkle a little lemon zest and fresh oregano on top, along with a few toasted pine nuts and finely grated Parmesan if using. Use as an accompaniment to fish, shellfish, or lamb.