Lemony summer risotto

Risotto is one of those dishes that used to intimidate me. I mean whenever you see or read a recipe there is all that stirring (some recipes state that you need to stir none stop for anywhere between 15-30 minutes)and carefully adding stock ladle by ladle (it almost feels like you’re in a chemistry lab and a drop too much or too little will cause an explosion) then there is the fact that you need to make your own stock if you want the end result to be worth the trouble.

To top all that off I have to confess that I have never actually tasted risotto before(I know..they should take away my food blogging licence)..so I wasn’t even sure it was worth all the fuss.

That all changed 2 weeks ago when we went to this cute little italian restaurant and the menu had asparagus risotto..I just had to try it, and boy am I glad I did..it was love at first bite.

It was creamy, velvety, almost melts in your mouth. There was the hint of parmesan in the background, the richness of butter and the slightest crunch from the asparagus. I knew there and then that I had to try making risotto or convince the owner of the restaurant  to start a home delivery service.

On my next shopping trip , arborio rice was on the list and I just loved what was written on the package: A great risotto only requires a pot and some imagination. I had the first and hoped I had enough of the second.

I figured a good place to start was the chicken stock so I made it according to the recipe we used in the gumbo challenge .Now all I had to do was decide which risotto I wanted to make. A quick trip to google gave me so many options that my head started to spin. Mushroom risotto, pea risotto, lemon risotto,seafood risotto, squash risotto, spring risotto, brown butter risotto,you get the picture.

Staring at the package I decided to use my imagination and make my own risotto. I wanted something refreshing (that gave birth to the lemon and herbs part..) and I wanted to use fresh summer ingredients (a trip to the fridge brought back peas, carrots and zucchini)  and my lemony summer risotto was born.

Before we go to the recipe I wanted to tell you that I submitted my blog to the Babble’s top 100 food mom bloggers of 2011 and I would really appreciate your votes.

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Chef in disguise is no. 66

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Lemony summer risotto

1 and 1/2 cups arborio rice

8 cups chicken stock (recipe here)

2 tablespoons vegetable oil

1 medium onion chopped

1 clove garlic finely chopped

1/2 cup frozen peas

1 carrot cut into thin slices

1 zucchini cut into thin slices

1 lemon

1/2 teaspoon sugar

2 tablespoons butter

1/2 cup parmesan cheese

handful of mozzarella cheese

Small handful basil

2 tablespoons chopped mint



In a pot heat the oil and add the onions and garlic.

Stir for a couple of minutes then add the carrots and zucchini, continue stirring (You want to get the onions to soften to the point of translucent but not beyond that because  if you brown the onions this will affect the final taste.)

Add the rice and stir untill the rice is coated with the oil. Stir for 2-3 minutes.

Add the zest of the lemon and the peas.

Add the first ladle of chicken stock (the stock should be boiling all the time you are making the risotto). The rice should sizzle when the stock hits it.

Stir on medium heat untill the rice absorbs almost all the liquid.

Continue adding the stock one ladle at a time and stirring untill the rice on the edges begins to dry (the stirring helps bring out the starch and develop the creamy-ness)

It took me 8 cups and around 25 minutes to get the rice to the level of done-ness (yes that’s a word) that I wanted. It may take you a little more or less, when you have added 7 cups it might be a good idea to taste it and see if it is where you want it to be.

Peel the lemon and section the flesh of one half, chop it and sprinkle with sugar.Squeeze  the other half. Add the sections and juice to the rice followed by the cheese, herbs, butter.

Stir untill the butter melts and all the herbs are evenly distributed.

Season with salt and pepper to taste.

Serve immediately