Lemons are so versatile whether you put the juice or the zest or both in a recipe. Where would Greek cuisine be without them? I use lemon juice to make a vinaigrette dressing. I grate lemon zest into my fishcakes and both zest and juice are used in this risotto and are what makes it a little different. Risotto – Italian comfort food – is endlessly versatile too. This one includes asparagus tips, portobello mushrooms, peas and spinach. With this dish the broth is added a little at a time – when the rice has almost absorbed the stock add a little more and stir frequently.
1 tbsp. olive oil, seasoned with salt and freshly ground black pepper
2 shallots – finely chopped
2 large garlic cloves – grated
1 1/2 cups of Arborio rice
4 cups of vegetable or chicken broth
Zest and juice of 1 lemon
4 oz. portobello mushrooms – diced
4 oz. baby asparagus
4 oz. frozen peas
4 oz. baby spinach
Pour oil into a cast iron Dutch oven and season with salt and freshly ground black pepper. When sizzling add the shallots and let cook for a couple of minutes, then turn heat down a little and add the garlic.
After a few minutes tip the rice into the pot and stir before adding a cup of broth. Bring broth to a boil then turn down to a simmer and add the lemon zest and juice and all of the vegetables.
Simmer for some 20 minutes until rice is cooked and the broth is absorbed.