Today I want to share my gratitude for Ashlee. Since coming into our lives her expertise in the kitchen has grown exponentially and this is entirely down to her ability to throw herself into a recipe without hesitation. There is no fear – just a willingness to learn. She also has a great palette – something the greatest cookbook can’t teach you. The result is an accomplished cook whose repertoire for delicious recipes the kids gobble up is growing, along with our waistlines. Thank you Ashlee!
This recipe for Lemon risotto with basil comes from one of my favorite cookbooks: The Cafe Cook Book: Italian Recipes from London’s River Cafe. Written by two of the most inspiring chefs, Ruth Rogers and the late Rose Gray, it is my go to book for Italian food. In 1987 Rogers and Gray opened one of my all time favorite restaurants The River Cafe in London and started a genuine food revolution in England. It was in this kitchen that a young man was discovered whilst stirring the pots in the background of a Christmas television special – from this he got his own show – The Naked Chef – and Jamie Oliver’s career was launched.
What you need
1 quart chicken stock
4 tablespoons unsalted butter, divided
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 red onion peeled and chopped
1 head celery, white parts only, chopped plus leaves
1 garlic clove, peeled and chopped
1 1/2 cups Arborio rice
2/3 cup dry vermouth
6 tablespoons roughly chopped fresh basil
juice and zest of 4 large washed lemons
1/2 cup freshly grated Parmesan
5 tablespoons mascarpone cheese
What to do
1. Heat the chicken stock in a saucepan.
2. Melt half the butter with the olive oil in a heavy-bottomed saucepan over a medium heat and add the onion and celery stalk. Gently fry until soft and then add the garlic and celery leaves, stir to combine and add the rice. Coat the rice and add the vermouth. Allow to bubble and reduce.
3. Turn the heat down to low and add the hot stock, ladle by ladle. Stir constantly, allow each ladle of stock to be absorbed before adding another.
4. When the rice is al dente, after about 20 minutes, stir in the basil, the lemon juice and zest, half the Parmesan and the mascarpone cheese. Stir once, season, and serve immediately topped with some of the remaining basil and Parmesan.