Meyer Lemon Risotto

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.

  • Prep time: 5 minutes
  • Cook time: 35 minutes
  • Yield: Serves 4

Ingredients

  • Kosher salt
  • 1 1/2 quarts (6 cups) water
  • 3 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 tablespoon 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 tablespoon 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)

Method

1 Heat salted water: 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 Sauté onions: In a large, wide sauté pan, heat olive oil and butter on medium heat. Add the onions and cook until translucent, about 5 minutes.

saute onions for meyer lemon risotto

3 Brown the rice: Add the rice. Stir to coat. Cook, stirring, 5-7 minutes, until the rice just barely begins to brown on some of the grains.

brown the rice for meyer lemon risotto

4 Add the wine. Stir continuously, a few minutes, until the liquid has been completely absorbed by the rice.

add white wine to the meyer lemon risotto

5 Start adding the hot salted water, a ladle at a time: 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.

add salted water to the meyer lemon risotto a ladle at a time

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.