This Risotto al Limone (Lemon Risotto) is so good, you will love serving it up as a side for your favorite Italian meals or as a main course with lots of vegetables.
Risotto al Limone might seem a little strange but the freshness and bright flavors from the acid lift up a commonly heavy dish.
Balance the flavors you love with more or less lemon, or more or less cheese.
This recipe is written to bring a slight edge to the lemon flavors (we are here fore lemon risotto, after all!) and keeping the classic creamy risotto.
Want to make a risotto without wine? Not a problem!
You can easily omit the wine and instead add more of the juice of a lemon instead to bring the same acidity.
You can save the lemon until the end and start with just a little, adding as much as you want.
Does the Rice Type Really Matter?
Yes! Arborio rice is high in starch and as this starch is released in the cooking process, it gives risotto the creamy texture.
Arborio is also a short grain rice which means it stays a little firm and chewy. You want risotto to have just a little bite or texture to it and not be soggy or too soft.
Do you really need to stir the risotto so much?
In my opinion, yes.
Some people say that they do not notice a difference and just let the rice sit there and cook in all of the liquid at once. But I DO notice a difference.
The stirring and gradually adding of the liquid definitely makes the risotto creamier.
Grab a glass of wine or a friend and hang out with your Lemon Risotto for a bit, stirring as it cooks.
Yes, you can go back and forth to the pot stirring every few minutes, but the best ever risotto I made was when I was constantly stirring.
Fresh lemon juice and zest is best here.
The lemon zest brings a concentrated flavor with minimal acid, and the juice brings a strong, acid packed flavor.
Using both together really drive the lemon flavor forward without being too subtle or overpowering.
And adding them both at the end really let them shine without fading through cooking.
- Place the stock in a small pot and heat over medium low. You want the stock to be warm when adding it to the risotto so that the temperature change does not affect the rice.
- Add 2 Tablespoons butter to the pot. When the butter is melted, add the rice and stir. Continue cooking to slightly toast the rice until it is just starting to become translucent and show a little brown color, approximately 3-5 minutes.`
- Add the white wine to the pot. Cook until the rice is almost dry, where most of the wine has been absorbed.
- Add one cup of stock to the rice. Stir continuously until most of the stock has been absorbed. Repeat this process 1/2 cup of stock at a time until the rice is cooked thoroughly. You want the rice to have just a little bit of bite left so that it is not completely mushy. Depending on your rice, you may need more or less stock for the right consistency so start tasting the rice after 6 cups of stock has been used.
- While the rice is cooking, zest your lemons, and then juice them. Set aside.
- When your rice is cooked through, remove the pot from the heat. Add the remaining butter, lemon zest, lemon juice, and Parmesan cheese. It is important to do this before adding salt and pepper because the cheese is salty. Stir to combine and until the cheese and butter have melted into the risotto.
- Taste the risotto and season with additional Parmesan, salt, and pepper as desired. Depending on your cheese, you may need no salt, or a couple teaspoons. Serve immediately.