The Summery Side of Risotto
For many people Risotto is a food for the cold days of winter. Creamy, warm and rich, the rice dish is so very often served with mushrooms, butternut squash or as is, a heavy, satisfying main course. This doesn’t have to be the case. In the right hands risotto can be a bright side or a light, refreshing main course. In this case we take a fabulous and classic risotto recipe and add some serisouly summery ingredients; Basil and Lemon. It’s a tangy, creamy, side with a punch of basil that we served along side roast chicken and asparagus. It may change your mind and make your reconsider how you think about risotto.
Be sure to have some quality chicken stock on hand, as it makes a huge difference in the flavor. Try making our homemade stock if you have the time. We also use a surprisingly large amount of celery, a trick we learned from Jamie Oliver and one which will give your risotto a nice crunch.
Lemon Basil Risotto (serves 6)
4-5 cups chicken stock
3 tbsp olive oil
3 shallots, finely chopped
1/2 head celery, finely chopped
1 garlic clove, diced
1 1/2 cups arborio rice
1 cup dry vermouth
5 tbsp butter
juice and zest of two large lemons
1 cup finely grated parmesan
1 large handful basil, chopped
Sea salt and pepper to taste
Heat the stock in a saucepan. In a separate pan heat the olive oil on medium heat. Add the shallots, garlic and celery and let slowly fry until soft. Do not let them brown. Add the rice and turn the heat up. Stir the rice to coat and allow to begin to cook. Continue stirring until the rice begins to look translucent. Add the vermouth and allow the alcohol to cook off. When the vermouth has cooked down, turn the heat down and slowly add your stock. While stirring add a ladle full of stock, wait for the rice to absorb the liquid and add another ladle. Continue until your rice is creamy, roughly 15 minutes, and you have used all or most of your stock.
Once all of the liquid is absorbed stir in the butter. Then, add the lemon juice, zest and basil. Be sure to salt and pepper to taste. Last but not least, fold in the parmesan cheese. When ready to serve spoon into bowls and top with grated parmesan and basil leaves.