It’s a cold and rainy day today and I, for one, am excited for the cooler weather months to come! One of my favorite dishes to make when it starts to get cold outside is risotto. It’s the perfect comfy-cozy meal and an easy one-pot dish that sounds and tastes much more complicated that it really is. This meal can easily be served on its own or as an accompaniment to simply grilled chicken or fish.
I love lemons and peas, and they make a great pairing for the risotto, but you can add whatever other veggies you’d like and experiment with different herbs as well. I think the lemons are great to cut the richness a bit and the peas are a vegetable, so there you go with a one-pot meal. This is one creamy dish that isn’t that bad for you– the creaminess comes from the release of the natural starches from the rice, not from any added calories from cream or soft cheese. While risotto sounds labor intensive and like you’re slaving over a hot stove after a long day, I rather enjoy the stirring, and with a glass of wine in hand, it’s even kind of therapeutic. It’s also fun to watch the rice turn into risotto. I hope you give it a try!
lemon risotto with peas
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 tablespoon butter
1 small onion or 2 shallots, diced (approx. 1/2 cup)
1 1/2 cups arborio rice
2/3 cup dry white wine (I used Pinot Grigio)
4 cups low sodium chicken stock or broth (1 32 oz. carton)
Half a bag of frozen peas (about 8 ounces)
Zest and juice of 1 lemon
Freshly ground black pepper
1/2 cup grated Parmesan cheese, plus more for serving
In a medium pot, bring the stock to a simmer. Cover and keep hot over very low heat. Meanwhile, heat the olive oil and butter in a large saucepan over medium heat. Add the onion or shallots and saute for 5 to 7 minutes, until tender. Add the rice and stir for about a minute to coat all of the grains with the butter and oil. Add the white wine and stir constantly over low heat until the rice has absorbed most of the liquid. Add the stock to the rice dish 1 to 2 ladles at a time, stirring constantly and waiting for the rice to absorb the liquid before adding more. Repeat as necessary until the rice is tender and the mixture is creamy, about 25 minutes total. Before the rice is cooked through (about 15-20 minutes into the process), stir in the frozen peas, lemon zest, 1 teaspoon salt, and 1/2 teaspoon pepper. Once the rice is tender, turn off the heat and stir in the lemon juice and Parmesan cheese, and check for seasoning. Add salt and pepper to taste, if needed. Serve hot with a sprinkle of Parmesan cheese on top.
As any avid Top Chef viewer would know, there is a bit of “controversy” as to what consistency risotto should be. Chef Tom Colicchio contends that it should be “soupy“. But others, including Marcella Hazan, disagree, saying that while the soupy kind is one way, there is also another style, that is “compact, more tightly knit, somewhat stickier“. I say you make it any way you like.