Saturday, June 17, 2006

Lemon Risotto and Sunshine

This month's issue of Saveur contains a fantastic article about the limonetos in the Sorrento region of Italy. Basically, these are huge citrus gardens full of lemon trees, birds, insects - pretty much an entire ecosystem contained in a grove of lemon trees. It ended with a recipe for lemon risotto, a recipe I have been itching to try ever since I saw it. I'll make sure to tell you how it turns out. I can just imagine the creaminess of the arborio starches cut through with the sweet acid of a ripe lemon. Paired with a crisp Sauvignon Blanc with the right amount of acidity, this dish could be exactly what the soft summer breezes off Lake Michigan have been whispering all these nights. For added kick, asparagus spears or blanches broccoli florets would add a sweet crunch, and of course, much needed fiber.

On second thought, I don't think asparagus or broccoli have ever been said to lend a "kick" to anything. But I'll bask in being the first one to have granted the compliment to our green veggie compatriots.

Until I actually make the recipe - here it is, courtesy of Saveur, June 2006:
Serves 8
4 tbsp. Butter
1 scallion (white and light green parts only), finely chopped
3 ½ cups arborio rice
1 cup white wine
¾ cup heavy cream
Finely grated zest of 3 lemons (about 1 tbsp.)
¾ cup finely grated parmigiano-reggiano (about 2 oz.)
Julienned zest of 1 lemon, for garnish

1. Bring 2 quarts of water to a boil over high heat on a backburner. Meanwhile, heat 2 tbsp. of the butter in a heavy-duty medium pot over medium heat. Add scallions and cook until softened and light golden, about 2 minutes. Add rice and cook, stirring constantly, until translucent, about 3-4 minutes. Add wine and cook, stirring constantly, until rice has absorbed most of the wine, about 1 minute.

2. Add 1 cup of the boiling water to rice, using a ladle, and cook, stirring constantly, until water has been absorbed, 2-3 minutes. Repeat this process 5-6 more times, until rice is al dente. (You’ll have water left over.) Add cream and grated lemon zest and cook, stirring constantly, for 2 minutes more. Remove from heat, stir in remaining butter and parmigiano-reggiano, and season to taste with salt. (If risotto seems to thick, add more water to adjust to desired consistency.)3. Spoon risotto onto plates and garnish with julienned lemon zest. Serve immediately.

Source: Saveur

Here's what one blogger has to say about the dish. Her comments will be duly noted.:
"The next dish on the menu this week was the Risotto al Limone from Saveur. I'd been drooling over the picture for weeks, and I was happy with the way it turned out when I made it. Lemony but mild enough not to offend the non-lemon lovers of us, it was a lovely starter. My only concern is that even after adding an additional scoop of water while cooking, the risotto was almost too al dente. I did halve the recipe, adding the water in 1/2 cup increments instead of full cups, so that may have changed things, but I'd still suggest testing the risotto before you move on to the cream part of the recipe."

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