Risotto, redux.

Is it odd to plan an entire meal around lemon zest?

This blog has paid off in spades, can I just say.  Its premise is sound.  Today I had a new lease on life, as it was a Saturday I thought I’d have to spend working.  Instead, I spent it sitting in a cafe in Maiden Lane and writing in my journal.  I’d planned to pick up materials for dinner on the way home and didn’t want to carry too much up the hill (S is camping with Healing Waters this weekend).  Considering my empty cupboards, I identified one ingredient I had at home that I wanted to use — a lemon.  Specifically, lemon zest.

Harkening back to S’s excellent shrimp and mushroom risotto, I particularly recalled how we’d added some lemon zest at the last minute, and how astoundingly well it mingled with the flavors.  It brightened the mushroom-and-broth creaminess just so.  Yum.  (Strangely, S’s earlier risotto entry seems to be missing this game-time addition.)

I picked up some chicken broth, half a pound of crimini mushrooms, and a small bag of arborio rice at Whole Foods, along with some nectarines for dessert.  Then I got home, consulted Whatitchew, and…voila!

My simpler iteration: (sans shrimp, onion)

I sauteed minced garlic in some olive oil, then added the chopped mushrooms (and some butter) and sauteed.  I removed the mushrooms, added more oil, and coated the arborio rice, heating it until the rice was translucent around the edges.  Then I started adding the chicken stock, about half a cup at a time, keeping the mixture at a simmer and waiting for the liquid to absorb.  When the stock was gone, I used water and added the mushrooms and juices.  After a few minutes, I added the lemon zest and gave the whole mixture a generous grind of black pepper and a modest pinch of salt.

After serving some onto a plate, I added a handful of arugula and let it wilt into my risotto.  Then I sprinkled some Parmesan cheese, and here I am, bowl empty.  Delicious.

– SOC

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