We had the most amazing risotto (among many other treats) at Giorgio Baldi the other night when we celebrated the attractive nuisance’s birthday. Holy $*#&! This, of course, was after risotto played a major role in last week’s Top Chef. Got me dreaming about risott…

Went for something simple: Lemon Risotto from Bon Appetit courtesy of my favorite, Smitten Kitchen. Still need to master the technique of making it “spread” on the plate, but practice sure tastes good!

Lemon Risotto (Smitten Kitchen)
Adapted from Bon Appetit, May 2002

Makes 6 first-course or 4 main-course servings.

  • 6 cups canned low-salt chicken broth
  • 3 1/2 tablespoons butter
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 2 large shallots, chopped
  • 2 cups arborio rice or medium-grain white rice
  • 1/4 cup dry white wine
  • 1 cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese (about 3 ounces)
  • 2 tablespoons chopped fresh parsley
  • 2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
  • 4 teaspoons grated lemon peel

Bring broth to simmer in large saucepan over medium heat. Reduce heat to low; cover to keep warm. Melt 1 1/2 tablespoons butter with oil in heavy large saucepan over medium heat. Add shallots and saute until tender, about 6 minutes. Add rice; stir 1 minute. Add wine and stir until evaporated, about 30 seconds. Add 1 1/2 cups hot broth; simmer until absorbed, stirring frequently. Add remaining broth 1/2 cup at a time, allowing broth to be absorbed before adding more and stirring frequently until rice is creamy and tender, about 35 minutes. Stir in cheese and remaining 2 tablespoons butter. Stir in parsley, lemon juice, and lemon peel. Season risotto with salt and pepper. Transfer to bowl and serve.


Also had some artichokes from the farmers market, so I tried her favorite preparation for artichoke hearts (at the bottom of the page). Very tasty. Next up, trying that Asparagus, Artichoke, and Shiitake Risotto.

Artichoke Hearts (Smitten Kitchen)

Remove all the outer leaves, choke and stem of a whole artichoke, leaving just the heart.

Cut the heart into 1/4 inch slices and toss it immediately in a bowl filled with the juice of one lemon.

Make sure each and every edge, angle and side of the hearts gets coated in lemon juice, or they will brown very quickly.

In a small pot, boil water with a good glug or two of white wine, a splash of white vinegar and if you’re feeling fancy, a smashed garlic clove and/or a bay leaf.

Drop in the artichoke hearts with all of their lemon juice, and simmer them for about 10 minutes, or longer if needed for them to become tender. Drain and set them aside.


And also made the Snap Peas and Pancetta from the new Barefoot Contessa book. This was a big hit on New Year’s Eve. Another great success!

Snap Peas with Pancetta (from Barefoot Contessa How Easy Is That?)

  • Kosher salt
  • 1 pound sugar peas, trimmed
  • 1/4 pound pancetta, sliced
  • 1/2 cup good olive oil
  • 2 tablespoons freshly squeezed lemon juice
  • 2 tablespoons Champagne or white wine vinegar
  • 1/4 cup minced red onion
  • 5 tablespoons freshly grated Pecorino Romano cheese
  • 1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
Bring 2 to 3 quarts of water to a boil in a large pot and add 1 tablespoon of salt. Fill a large bowl with ice water and have a sieve or colander ready in the sink. Put the snap peas into the boiling water for only 10 to 15 seconds, drain, and put immediately into the ice water. Cool completely and drain. Cut each snap pea in half lengthwise and place in a large bowl.
Meanwhile, place the pancetta and 1 tablespoon of water in a medium saute pan and cook over medium heat until the pancetta is browned and crisp, tossing occasionally to brown evenly. The water will evaporate and the pancetta will render some of its fat. Transfer to a plate lined with paper towels to cool.

To make the vinaigrette, whisk together the olive oil, lemon juice, and vinegar. Pour enough vinaigrette on the snap peas to moisten. Add the red onion, crumbled pancetta, Pecorino, 1 teaspoon salt, and the pepper.  Toss well, season to taste, and serve.

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