This Month's Recipe...
July 2021 - Lemon Risotto with Rocket and Rocket Flowers
From Dinner & Party, p102
I love this stimulating risotto, with or before a fish course, or with salads on a warm evening. I have included rocket flowers in the recipe, perhaps just to illustrate the rightness of this recipe for early summer, when including a flower petal as decoration, a totally frivolous addition, puts the dish in the context of the season.
If you grow rocket, the white flowers with fine dark veins will appear when the plant 'bolts'. White or yellow violas and marigold petals can also be used but, if not available, do not let it put you off making the risotto.
Serving dish: large shallow pan
2 tbsp butter, plus extra to finish the cooking
1 onion, very finely chopped
180g risotto rice (carnaroli or arborio)
100ml white wine
1.5 litres chicken or vegetable stock (see p62 of Dinner & Party), simmering in a pan
120g freshly grated Grana Padano, Parmesan or pecorino cheese
zest and juice of 2 lemons
sea salt and ground white pepper
4 handfuls of wild rocket and flowers, if available
Melt the butter in a large shallow pan and add the onion. Cook gently over a medium-low heat until soft, but not coloured. Add the rice and sauté it gently for 2 minutes, stirring. Add the wine and let it bubble. It will be absorbed into the rice.
Keeping the temperature of the pan medium-low, add 2 ladlefuls of the simmering stock to the pan. Let it bubble and become absorbed, then add more stock. Continue like this until the rice swells and slowly cooks while more and more stock is absorbed.
After about 20-25 minutes bite into a grain of rice or cut it – if it is still raw in the centre, continue adding stock and cooking. When the raw centre is just a speck of opaque white, add a little stock – so the risotto has a soupy consistency – then add half the cheese and another tablespoonful of butter, followed by the lemon zest and juice. Turn off the heat – the lemon does not benefit by further cooking and needs to taste really fresh.
Season with salt and pepper, to taste, then scatter over the rocket and flowers, then serve. Hand round the remaining cheese.