Thursday, 10 April 2014

Wednesday Weekly: Lemon, Basil & Ricotta Risotto

I know that I'm a day late with this post, being Thursday (in my part of the world, anyway) but I was so busy and tired last night that... blagh. I didn't get around to doing anything.

This recipe, like probably everything I decide to cook, isn't very hard but it's probably not something you're going to make if you're in a hurry. It's supposed to take about forty minutes to an hour, but I'm always very slow when I'm working with unfamiliar items, so it took me considerably longer. I believe that the end result was alright -- I raced out the door to Zumba five minutes after I finished cooking, so I only got to taste test a little, but I didn't hear any complaints from the family which is good.

It's also vegetarian-friendly, if you're the type that's happy to eat cheese and butter. If you're not, it's obviously not going to be for you.

Here are all the delicious things you need. I ended up not using everything, but this was partly because I forgot. The good thing about these ingredients is that they're very general products. You won't need anything that comes only from a specialty store!

Why can't you just have "white wine" written somewhere?
Ah, wine. My cooking nemesis. It took me ten minutes to locate this thing in my pantry, and another five to make sure that it actually was white wine. Unfortunately, I also had the misfortune to see that the website I called listed it as "sparkling wine". That means fizzy, right? I didn't know that wine came in fizzy forms -- but then again, I didn't know that chardonnay was wine at all. You should've seen the fun I had opening this thing.

It wouldn't be a Wednesday Weekly without my making a mess of something.

I even made a mess of the onions.
Even the onions proved to be a difficulty. These made me cry, to my great surprise -- I didn't know red onions could. This is why you won't see me in any of these photos: I had to keep dabbing my eyes with a cloth and my eyeliner went all over the place. In the end, I was basically chopping these very carefully with my eyes closed. Don't do that yourself, kids.

A great example of me just grabbing whatever jug says "two cups" on it, and not using one of a more suitable size.

On the left is the pot that I was making the risotto in, and on the right is the pot I had the stock in. Take my advice: don't do it this way. It will take you longer to cook the risotto, and funnily enough, you'll be more prone to making mistakes.
The problem with having the stock in a big pot is that when you're scooping up 1/3 cup measurements to add to the rice, you'll quickly be scooping up such a small amount of stock that you'll naïvely think that there's only a small amount left.
And you'll decide to just dump the rest of it into the smaller pot.

"Come on, rice, ABSORB FASTER!"
See what I mean? This is probably a little more than 1/3 cup.

The end result: one delicious batch of risotto.
I did take a few shortcuts when making this recipe. My family eat a lot, so I always double any recipe that claims to serve 4. However, I was rushing a bit, so I left out things and only used half the amount I needed for other things -- sometimes deliberately, sometimes accidentally. Here are the things to consider with this recipe, whether you're making the original one (which you can also find online here) or doubling it:
  • I only used one red onion. I'm not a fan of onion in general, although I don't mind cooking with red onion from time to time. For me, one was enough.
  • I left out the celery entirely.
  • The original recipe calls for the grated rind of one lemon, plus a tablespoon of lemon juice; I'd forgotten to double this, but I found when taste testing that it really was enough. Doubling the lemon may have overpowered the dish, so you might want to think about only using half for the original.
  • The recipe calls for dry white wine but, not being a drinker, I don't know what this means. The wine I used was sparkling, but I don't think it really had any impact on the dish overall.
  • Only parmesan cheese was used in this recipe, but use pecorino if you can afford it -- it's beautiful.
  • Two bunches of basil gave me roughly two cups.
  • Also, fresh basil is annoying to tear and big clumps of green leaves aren't the most appealing thing in the world. If you can get your hands on basil paste, I would suggest using that instead. You'll only need a tablespoon or two, and you'll get a much more pleasant texture through your food.
  • I accidentally forgot the ricotta!
As always, I've included the original recipe below. Please, if you can, don't be like me and leave out one of the titular ingredients. You feel silly serving up "Lemon, Basil & Ricotta Risotto" without the ricotta.

Lemon, Basil & Ricotta Risotto

Serves 4.


  • 1L (4 cups) salt-reduced vegetable stock
  • 2 tbs olive oil
  • 1 red onion, finely chopped
  • 2 celery sticks, finely chopped (optional to me)
  • 300g Arborio rice
  • 250ml (1 cup) dry white wine
  • 1 lemon, rind finely grated
  • 1 tbs lemon juice
  • 40g (1/2 cup) finely grated pecorino or parmesan
  • 50g butter, chopped
  • 1 cup fresh basil leaves, torn
  • 100g fresh ricotta, crumbled
  • Finely grated pecorino or parmesan, to serve


  1. Bring the stock just to the boil in a saucepan over high heat. Reduce heat to low and hold at a gentle simmer.
  2. Heat oil in a saucepan over medium-low heat. Add onion and celery. Stir for 10 minutes or until soft. Increase heat to medium. Add rice. Stir for 1 minute or until grains are slightly glassy. Add wine and stir until absorbed.
  3. Add 80ml (1/3 cup) of stock to rice mixture. Stir until liquid is absorbed. Add stock, 80ml (1/3 cup) at a time, stirring constantly and allowing liquid to be absorbed before adding more. Continue for 20 - 25 minutes or until the rice is tender yet firm and risotto is creamy.
  4. Remove from heat. Stir in lemon rind, juice, pecorino and butter. Season. Cover and set aside for 2 minutes to rest. Stir in the basil and divide among plates. Sprinkle with the ricotta and extra pecorino.
And there we have it. Have you accidentally left out the main ingredient for a recipe before? Have you cooked with white wine before? Let me know!

Sarah xo

1 comment:

  1. fdjsaklfds this looks so good. I am going to make this with Andrew! I'll tag you on instagram when we do it :p