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Risotto has always seemed like such an intimidating dish. It looks elegant and has just seemed complicated to make, so I never bothered myself with it. It is actually much easier than I thought, and I even had fun making it! Risotto is the most typical preparation of rice in Italy, known for its creamy texture. It’s a process of adding wine and then gradually adding small amounts of  hot broth, letting the liquid absorb after each addition.

This risotto is deliciously creamy and so bright in lemony flavor. It would pair perfectly with a steak to contrast the intense flavor As written, the lemon flavor is very intense, bordering on overly tart, so you might want to cut the amount of lemon juice in half if you don’t have a heavy enough main dish. And if you don’t have Arborio rice, you can use medium or short grain rice, just don’t use long grain rice or it’ll be mush.

Lemon Risotto

4 cups low-sodium chicken broth
3 tablespoons butter
½ cup diced onion
¼ to ½ cup lemon juice
1½ cup Arborio rice
½ cup dry white wine
½ cup grated Parmesan, plus 2 tablespoons
¼ cup mascarpone cheese
½ tablespoon lemon zest
¾ teaspoon kosher salt
¾ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
2 tablespoons chopped flat leaf parsley

In a medium saucepan bring the broth and ¼ cup lemon juice, or ¼ cup water, to a simmer. Cover the mixture and keep hot over low heat.

In a medium, heavy saucepan, melt 2 tablespoons of the butter over medium heat. Add the onion and saute until tender but not brown, about 3 to 5 minutes. Add the rice and stir to coat with the butter. Add the wine and simmer until the wine has almost completely evaporated, about 3 minutes. Add ½ cup of the simmering broth and stir until almost completely absorbed, about 2 minutes. Continue cooking the rice, adding the broth ½ cup at a time, stirring constantly and allowing each addition of the broth to absorb before adding the next, until the rice is tender but still firm to the bite and the mixture is creamy, about 20 minutes. Remove from the heat. Stir in the remaining tablespoon of butter, ½ cup of Parmesan, mascarpone cheese, lemon zest, ¼ cup lemon juice, and the salt and pepper. Garnish with flat leaf parsley and the remaining 2 tablespoons of Parmesan cheese. Serve immediately.

Source: Slightly adapted from Giada’s Kitchen by Giada De Laurentiis

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