Mama Agata's Lemon Risotto

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READY IN: 35mins
Recipe by DrGaellon

Because this is such a simple recipe, you have to use the best ingredients you can find. Rich, buttery-yellow cream and plump lemons will make all the difference. Vermouth can substitute for white wine, and lasts forever, even when opened. Adapted from a recipe published in _The Southern Italian Table_ by Arthur Schwartz, as reprinted by Caroline Russock at Serious Eats.

Ingredients Nutrition


  1. Grate the zest off the lemons and set it aside. Juice the lemons - you need 3/4 cup lemon juice - and set that aside. Microwave each lemon for 10-15 seconds on high, then roll it firmly against your cutting board before slicing in half; this will rupture the juice sacs and make it easier to collect the juice.
  2. Heat 2 quarts of water in a saucepan; maintain at a simmer.
  3. Melt the butter in a medium oven-safe saucepan over medium heat. Add the rice and stir for 2 minutes, until the rice turns opaque. Add wine; it should immediately bubble up. Start a timer at 18 minutes at this point. Stir constantly until the wine is nearly absorbed/evaporated, 1-2 minutes.
  4. Add the lemon juice, half the lemon zest, the salt, the white pepper and 1 cup of the simmering water. Stir well, then allow to simmer until the liquid level is lower than the rice.
  5. Add another 3/4 c simmering water; just enough to re-cover the rice. Simmer until the level is again below the level of the rice, stirring occasionally. Continue this cycle until your timer beeps. At this point, the rice should be al dente - tender, but still slightly firm in the center.
  6. Add the remaining lemon zest, the cream, and a splash more water if needed; it should be more creamy than starchy. Adjust salt and pepper to taste; if too lemony, add more cream. Serve with grated cheese.

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