Risotto is more of a technique for cooking rice rather than a specific recipe. It consists of a series of key steps that create a dish that is a canvas for any seasoning, aromatics, and seasonal ingredients your heart desires. First comes the sautéing of the rice, then the deglazing with wine. Next comes the stock, added one cup at a time, and finally the emulsion with fat. We’re excited to share this Lemon Zest, Pear and Parmesan Risotto recipe, which follows the traditional risotto technique and complements it with lemon zest and pepper for aroma, parmesan for the emulsion (we recommend using Grana Padano), and buttery pears for a touch of sweetness.
A simple honest risotto, made with care, will always be delicious. Pay attention to each key step and you will get a delicious comfort food meal for any day of the week. Once you master the risotto technique, go wild, use your favorite flavor combinations to create your own versions of risotto.
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Parmesan Risotto Recipe Tips:
- If you want to make risotto without wine, just substitute 3 tablespoons apple cider or white wine vinegar.
- Once you have this basic parmesan risotto recipe down, you can play around with a bunch of different flavor combinations. Try adding mushrooms, peas, pesto, or even seafood.
- Pair this with our Savory Lemon Chicken or our Arugula Sprout Salad for a deliciously satisfying meal.
Lemon, Pear, Parmesan Risotto
what you'll need
- 3 tbsp olive oil
- 1/3 cup leeks thinly chopped
- 1 clove garlic finely chopped
- 1 1/2 cups Arborio rice
- 1/2 tbsp salt
- 1/4 cup white wine or 3 tablespoons apple cider or white wine vinegar
- 6-7 cups vegetable or chicken stock
- 2 oz Parmesan or Grana Padano cheese grated
- 3 tsp lemon zest
- 3 tbsp cream
- freshly cracked black pepper
- 1 tbsp butter
- 1 pear cut lengthwise and then into 2” thick slices
let's do it
- Heat the olive oil in a large cast iron pan over medium heat. Add the leeks, garlic and arborio rice. Sauté until the leeks are soft and the edges of the rice become translucent. Add the salt and the white wine or vinegar and scrape up the pan. Allow the liquid to reduce.
- Begin adding the stock: Add one cup at a time, once the liquid has reduced almost completely add the next cup. Mix the rice constantly and avoid it from sticking to the bottom.
- After adding the sixth cup, allow the liquid to boil and taste the rice. It should be soft all around the edges and have a little bit of a bite in the center. If it needs to cook longer, add the seventh cup. Otherwise, add the cheese, lemon zest, cream and freshly cracked pepper. Mix vigorously to create an emulsion between the fats and liquids. Add extra salt if you need to. You should end up with a lot of creamy sauce and rice al dente.
- In a hot pan, melt the butter and brown the pears, about a minute per side.
- Immediately serve the risotto and top with the pears. Drizzle extra lemon zest and pepper.
Recipe and photos by Abril Macías.