I’m not sure when I first had risotto, but now I can’t imagine life without it. I probably cook it at least once a month — maybe more in the colder months. It’s perfect in its simplicity: butter, garlic, rice, wine, broth and cheese. I always have the ingredients, and it makes an excellent gluten-free side. I know some people dislike standing over the stove, but I find it therapeutic.
My go-to risotto recipe is this one from Pinch of Yum, but I cook risotto so often that I start to crave a little twist, depending on the season. This lemon basil risotto is light, simple and comforting. In summer months, our farmers markets are overloaded with basil. I’m always looking for ways to incorporate it into dishes. (There is always pesto!)
The key to this lemon basil risotto is to add the lemon and basil right at the end, so the flavors stay bright. If you happen to have fresh tomatoes on hand, you could add them halfway through for a more complete meal. A bit of crispy bacon crumbled on top would be a nice addition, too.
Lemon Basil Risotto
- 1 tablespoon butter
- 2 cloves garlic, minced
- 1 cup arborio rice
- ½ cup white wine
- 3 cups chicken or vegetable broth
- Salt & pepper to taste
- ½ cup Parmesan
- ½ teaspoon lemon zest
- ½ cup basil, roughly chopped
- Basil leaves for garnish, if desired
- Melt butter in medium saucepan over medium heat. Add garlic and cook until fragrant, about one minute. Add rice and stir to coat, cooking one more minute to toast rice. Add wine and stir well, reducing heat to medium-low.
- Add broth, a half-cup at a time (letting the rice soak up broth each time before adding the next half-cup), stirring occasionally and ensuring that rice doesn’t stick to the bottom.
- Once all the broth has been added, take a minute and taste your rice. Add salt and pepper if desired.
- Continue to cook until the broth has just been absorbed. Remove pan from heat and add lemon zest, basil and Parmesan, stirring gently to incorporate. Garnish with basil leaves.