Lemon Parmesan Risotto

Lemon Parmesan Risotto - Gluten Free, Vegetarian - Champagne for Breakfast

It’s been a while since I’ve had the opportunity to share a new dish here. Testing a recipe (sometimes it takes several tries), making the final version, staging the table, photographing it, editing the photos, and writing the posts actually takes quite a while. With a full time job and other commitments, sometimes it feels like I’m lucky to have time to cook at all, much less make a post about it!

Well, suddenly I seem to have nothing but time. Living in Seattle, we were one of the first areas in the US to impose self-isolation after COVID-19 started spreading. Right now as I’m writing this, my husband and I have been in self-isolation for 26 days, only leaving to get food and other necessities every few days.

With nowhere else to go, I’ve had to shift my view of entertainment to things I can do at home. I’ve obviously always loved cooking, but even for me it can feel like a chore sometimes. Now I eagerly anticipate each evening when I can shut down my work-from-home station and spend some time creating something delicious for dinner.

Risotto has a similar comfort-food quality to pasta, but it tends to take longer to prepare. Because of that, when I’m busy during a normal workweek I’ll usually opt for a simple pasta with a jar of pre-made sauce. Since most of you reading this right now are experiencing an increase in leisure time as well, I invite you to take this opportunity with me to elevate our typically rushed weekday meals and try something that requires a bit more focus and attention. The delicious end result will be worth it, and you’ll have passed the time creating something beautiful to share with your family or enjoy alone with your favorite TV show.

I hope everyone is staying healthy and making the most of their time at home!

Ingredients (4 servings)

  • 7 cups of chicken broth or vegetable broth
  • 1/2 stick of butter
  • 3 finely chopped shallots
  • 4 garlic cloves, finely minced
  • 1 1/2 cups of Arborio rice
  • 1 1/2 cups of dry white wine
  • 3/4 cups of grated parmesan cheese, plus 1/4 cup of shaved parmesan for garnish
  • 1 tablespoon of lemon zest
  • Juice of 1 lemon
  • Chopped fresh herbs for garnish (I used parsley, basil, and chives)
  • Salt and pepper to taste


  1. In a medium saucepan, bring the broth to a boil.
  2. While the broth is heating up, melt the butter over medium heat in a separate large saucepan.
  3. Add the shallots and garlic to the butter and saute until the shallots are softened. Then add the rice and stir for about 5 minutes.
  4. Stir in the wine and raise the heat to medium-high. Allow it to boil, stirring constantly until the liquid has evaporated.
  5. Once the broth has boiled, remove it from the heat and slowly pour about 1/2 cup of it at a time into the rice pan. Gently mix each portion of broth into the rice until it’s soaked up before adding the next 1/2 cup. Continue until all the broth has been added to the risotto.*
  6. Remove the risotto from the heat and stir in the grated parmesan, lemon zest, and lemon juice.
  7. Dish it up and top off each serving with shaved parmesan, chopped fresh herbs, and salt and pepper.

Note: While this technique may seem painstaking and long, trust me, it actually saves time. Once I tried adding all the broth in with the rice at once and it took well over an hour for it all to be absorbed. By the time it did, the rice had basically disintegrated into a mush. So the smaller amounts of broth added a bit at a time is really the fastest way to cook the risotto properly. It’s also important to stir continuously, and be gentle enough to not break the rice.

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