At my local farmers market this weekend almost every stand featured Meyer Lemons. I bought a bag with plans to use them in several recipes. Meyer Lemons are sweet lemons that are thought to be a cross between a lemon and a mandarin orange.
One of the ways I love to use them is in a Lemon Risotto. It is the mix of lemons, parmesan cheese and the fresh herbs that make it a great dish served with a salad or as a side to grilled chicken or beef. Last night I was teaching a cooking class and made it to serve with Bistecca di Fiorentina.
Based on a Patricia Wells recipe in her Trattoria Cookbook.
5 cups chicken stock
Sprig of fresh mint
Sprig of fresh rosemary
Sprig of fresh sage
Grated zest of 1 lemon
4 tablespoons unsalted butter
1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
2 shallots, minced
Kosher salt to taste
1 ½ cups italian arborio rice
½ cup good quality dry white wine
3 tablespoons freshly squeezed lemon juice
½ cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese
In a large saucepan, heat the stock and keep it simmering while you prepare the risotto.
Stem the fresh herbs. Combine the leave with the lemon zest and, with a large chef’s knife, chop finely. Set aside.
In a lg. saucepan, combine 2 tbsp of the butter, the oil, shallots, and salt over moderate heat. Cook, stirring, until the shallots are soft and translucent, about 3 minutes. Add the rice, and stir until the rice is well coated with the fats, glistening and semi translucent, 1 to 2 minutes.
When the rice becomes shiny and partly translucent, add a ladleful of the stock. Cook, stirring constantly, until the rice has absorbed most of the stock, 1 to 2 minutes. Continue adding ladlefuls of stock, stirring frequently until the rice is almost tender but firm to the bit, about 17 minutes total. The risotto should have a creamy, porridge like consistency.
Remove the saucepan from the heat and stir in the remaining butter, lemon zest and herbs, lemon juice, and the Parmesan. Cover and let stand, off the heat for 2 minutes, to allow the flavors to blend. Taste for seasoning.