Lemon Risotto

TIMEJanuary 13, 2022

Bright, creamy, and flavorful, this lemon risotto is all about showing off the citrus. Risotto takes a bit of time to make, but really it is a sensational dish and one that is always impressive to serve. It’s one of those classic recipes that turns simple, mundane ingredients, like rice and lemons, into an elegant dish.

Use the best ingredients you can find. Arborio rice is essential, freshly grated Parmesan or Romano cheese is a must. Use a dry white wine, such as pinot grigio, and fresh lemons. A touch of cream at the end melds all the ingredients together into a memorable dish.

And take your time. Risotto is not meant to be hurried. What makes it so good is adding the warm broth in stages, rather than all at once; it’s the slow absorption and evaporation that deepens the flavors and allows the rice to properly release its starches, to make the end result so perfectly creamy.

Oh, and making risotto is the perfect reason to invite friends into your kitchen to join you for a glass of wine while you stir and stir. Just saying.

Serves 6 as a first course

  • 7 cups low-sodium chicken broth
  • 3 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1/2 cup finely diced onion
  • 2 cups arborio rice
  • 1 cup dry white wine, such as pinot grigio
  • 1/4 cup heavy cream
  • 1 cup freshly grated Parmesan or Romano cheese
  • Juice of 1 to 2 lemons (4 tablespoons)
  • Grated zest of 1 to 2 lemons (4 teaspoons)
  • 1/4 teaspoon sea salt, plus more to taste
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground black pepper, plus more to taste

In a stockpot over medium heat, heat the broth set it aside.

In a large sauté pan over medium heat, add the olive oil and onions and cook until soft and translucent. Add the rice and stir to coat with the onion mixture. Add the wine, bring to a simmer, and then reduce the heat to low. Cook until the wine has all evaporated.

Add the warm broth 1 cup at a time, stirring after each addition until it completely absorbs into the rice, before adding the next. Lastly, stir in the cream, cheese, lemon juice, and zest. Season with salt and pepper, and taste to adjust seasonings. Serve immediately.

Victoria de la Maza is an award-winning cookbook author, columnist, and international TV host. Passionate about great food, she combines American traditions with her European heritage to create classic-with-a-twist recipes and ideas for stylish entertaining at home. Subscribe to her weekly newsletter, "Diary of a Serial Hostess,” at