Lemon Risotto

The risotto-making process is easy, but certain steps should be followed. The gradual addition of small amounts of liquid at a steady heat gradually dissolves the soft starch surrounding the rice kernel, which begins to swell. Constant stirring rubs away the dissolving starch and at the same time distributes it, binding it uniformly to every single grain of rice and to all the ingredients in the pot. It is only through that sustained stirring motion that you produce the amalgam, the creamy fusion of swollen rice and vegetables, or seafood, or meat that is risotto. Mantecare is the final step of making risotto. The word is borrowed from the Spanish for butter, mantequilla. In Italian it means to work butter or cream into what you are cooking to give it a soft consistency. In making risotto you do this when the risotto is cooked but is still steaming in the pot. Add a tablespoon or so of butter and some freshly grated cheese, and swirl them in to combine. It is the final and best touch, giving the risotto its great consistency. Lemon juice and peel offer a double punch of flavor in this delicious dish. Serve the risotto Italian-style as a first course, or American-style as a main course.

6 cups chicken stock -- or vegetable stock
2 tablespoons butter
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 cup onion -- diced fine
2 cups arborio rice
1/2 cup dry white wine
1/2 cup Pleasant Valley Gouda -- grated
2 tablespoons fresh parsley -- chopped
2 tablespoons lemon juice
4 teaspoons lemon zest

Bring stock to simmer in large saucepan over medium heat. Reduce heat to low; cover to keep warm.

Melt 2 tablespoons butter with the 2 tablespoons olive oil in heavy large saucepan over medium heat. Add diced onion and sauté until tender, about 6 minutes. Add rice; stir 1 minute. Add wine and stir until evaporated, about 30 seconds. Add 1 1/2 cups hot broth; simmer until absorbed, stirring frequently. Add remaining broth 1/2 cup at a time, allowing broth to be absorbed before adding more and stirring frequently until rice is creamy and tender, about 35 minutes.

Stir in the cheese. Stir in parsley, lemon juice, and lemon peel. Season risotto with salt and pepper. Transfer to bowl and serve.

Recipe from Chef Scott Samuel of Simply Brilliant


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