Lemon Risotto

Lemon Risotto

This reader request in the October 2010 issue of Bon Appetit magazine was actually for a meal of lamb shanks and lemon risotto at Restaurant Saveur but I had just cooked a lamb dish last month and still had some leftovers frozen so I decided to just make the lemon risotto.

What can I say? I love, love, loved it! The fresh risotto flavor was great but it was the addition of roasted cherry tomatoes that made this dish shine. I literally struggled with putting it down testing it. You know…maybe I should just try one more bite to see if the seasoning needs to be corrected just a bit. It didn’t and I did…eat WAY too much during that process. Bad Barb!

Like a lot of other cooks, I avoided risotto for a long time as it carries what I think is an unwarranted label of being difficult. It’s anything but. What it does require is some attention; so it’s not a dish you can walk away from but in the course of preparing dinner; if you’re in the kitchen anyhow…I think it’s really easy and the warm, sustaining results are worthy of a few minutes of attention.

I had just picked up pint of the loveliest multi-color cherry tomatoes at Whole Foods. They are not a necessity to make this dish, but they certainly added a WOW! factor with their vibrant colors. I’ve made a couple of substitutions too. I hardly ever use arugula; seems difficult to find and so pricey…I often substitute fresh spinach and did the same here. I also decided to forgo using Italian parsley as called for; I didn’t have it and I didn’t miss it!

Lemon Risotto from Bon Appetit RSVP – October, 2010

Creative Culinary
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Prep Time 10 minutes
Cook Time 45 minutes
Total Time 55 minutes
Servings 6


  • 1 12- ounce package cherry tomatoes
  • 3 tablespoons olive oil divided
  • 5 cups about low-salt chicken broth
  • 2 tablespoons butter divided
  • ½ medium white onion finely chopped (about 1 cup)
  • 2 cups arborio rice
  • 2 garlic cloves chopped
  • 1 cup dry white wine
  • 2 cups loosely packed baby spinach
  • ½ cup finely grated Parmesan cheese
  • 1 ½ tablespoons fresh lemon juice
  • 1 ½ teaspoons chopped fresh thyme
  • 1 teaspoon chopped fresh rosemary
  • ½ teaspoon finely grated lemon peel


  • Preheat oven to 350°F. Place tomatoes on rimmed baking sheet. Drizzle with 1 tablespoon oil; sprinkle with salt and pepper. Toss to coat. Roast until skins begin to wrinkle, about 12 minutes. Set aside. Pour 5 cups broth into small saucepan; bring to simmer. Cover and keep warm.
  • Melt 1 tablespoon butter with 2 tablespoons oil over medium heat in large saucepan. Add onion; sauté until translucent, about 4 minutes. Add rice and garlic; sprinkle with salt and pepper. Stir 2 minutes. Add wine; stir until almost all liquid is absorbed, about 3 minutes. Stir in 1 cup broth. Cook until almost all liquid is absorbed, stirring frequently and adjusting heat if necessary to maintain gentle simmer, about 5 minutes. Continue to add broth by cupfuls, stirring often, until rice is tender, about 25 minutes total. Remove from heat. Stir in 1 tablespoon butter and all remaining ingredients. Fold in tomatoes. Season with salt and pepper.


Adapted from Restaurant Saveur, Baileys Harbor, Wisconsin
[br]Bon Appetit, October 2010
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  1. I saw this on Brian’s blog and fell in love! Yours looks absolutely delicious! I make a Lemon Risotto which is so different from this one! This one will be tried next. I love the flavors, love the cherry tomatoes with it. Just stunning!

  2. Yes, Whole Foods does indeed have some beautiful little tomatoes right now. I think this looks absolutely wonderful and I’ve got to give it a try. I agree about the risotto rap and you’re not the first person who has disagreed with the myth. So then why have I never tried it??? As always, beautiful photo Barb.

  3. Guess what?! The RGB has two meyer lemon trees in the backyard, and they’e alllmooosst ready! I think it’ll just be a few more weeks until I’m back into a 6 month supply of lemons. So I’m gonna bookmark this risotto for then. If I’m lucky, I’ll have some straggler tomatoes, too. (Southern CA is funky like that.)

    Looks fluffy and delicious!


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