Alas, no baking for me today. Im sure my waistline is thanking me.

However, I did get to have fun with some inventive cooking tonight as our friend Grant came round for dinner.

I decided that we needed a nice warming dish, and as Im feeling a bit brainless today, risotto seemed a good bet.

Lemon risotto is one of my favourite concotions.

Due to a lack of Carnaroli rice in the supermarket I made the risotto with Vialone Nano which was very good also.

It seemed to need less stock than carnaroli.

The large dose of lemon juice does make it really refreshing desite the creaminess.

Youll be glad to hear that this doesnt involve massive amounts of butter; about 20g/heaped tablespoon per person which isnt really too bad.


Tonight I served the risotto with griddled chicken breasts marinaded in an Mediterranean Herb Paste.

This is a really nice product (made by Barts Spices) which blends basil, oregano, rosemary, thyme and a bit of bay in olive oil with some lemon juice. Its thick, gloopy and astonishingly green.

You could, of course, make your own herb paste and rub that all over the chicken. In the past Ive served the risotto with balsamic glazed chicken but I suspect it would also be wonderful with a piece of griddled salmon.

 

Lemon Risotto - serves two, easily doubled up.

1 brown-skinned onion, finely chopped
40g of unsalted butter, plus another blob for finishing
1 large unwaxed lemon, washed
2 cups caranoli rice (I used a US cup - 250ml)
5 cups chicken stock, at a simmer in a medium pan
grated parmesan to taste, see recipe
approx 2 tbsp flat leaf parsley, chopped roughly


Heat the butter gently in the chefs pan until its bubbling gently but not coloured.

Add the onion and saute gently over a very low heat until onion is translucent.

Grate the lemon zest directly into the pan and cook for approx 1 min until there is a strong smell of lemon from the pan.

Turn the heat up to medium high and add the rice. Stir very well to coat the rice with the butter and onion and keep cooking until the outside of each grain of rice turns clear and you can see a white dot in the middle of the grain.

At this point add one ladle of the simmering stock.

Stir this in vigorously and keep stirring until all of the liquid is absorbed.

Add another ladle of stock and cook in the same way.

Add another 3 ladles and cook out as described.

Juice the lemon and add approx 3/4 of the juice.

Cook, stirring constantly, until the juice is absorbed.

Add another ladle of stock and cook. T

aste to see whether the rice is as soft as you like it. If not, add more stock and keep cooking.

When the rice is as soft as you like it turn off the heat and add the rest of the lemon juice.

Throw in a blob of butter (probably about 10g) and some parmesan (I use approx 25g but you can use more or less).

Stir vigorously and try and shake the pan at the same time. Pop the lid on and leave for 2 mins.

Taste and add S&P; if you think it needs it. Serve in deep dishes sprinkled with the chopped parsley.


NB. If youve run out of butter as I did, you can use a couple of tablespoons of double cream to mount the risotto.