Meyer Lemon Risotto

When I'm making risotto for just two or three people, I make a full recipe and sometimes even double it, so that I'll have leftovers for making risotto cakes.

Meyer Lemon Risotto

I first made this tangy yet voluptuous risotto to go with Iron Horse Vineyards 1998 Classic Vintage Brut and it was one of those flawless matches that sent the wine soaring. Because the wine had an earthy quality and just a hint of toast on the finish, the chicken stock (homemade) was the secret ingredient that brought it all together. You can, however, make the risotto using water in place of stock, which is good to know if you are craving risotto but don’t have any stock on hand. When it comes to adding wine, you can add an extra little flourish by using the same wine that you are drinking, as long is it is not a rare and pricey one, in which case, just don’t!

Also, you’ll notice that I do not call for Arborio rice, the most common rice used in risotto. It may be common but it is not the best choice. I prefer Vialone Nano because it is the creamiest of the risotto rices but it can be hard to find. A good alternative is Carnaroli, which is readily available in most supermarkets these days. Kalustyan’s has an excellent array of Italian (and other) products, including these rices and two others, Baldo and Calriso, both of which are similar to Arborio.

  • Serves 4 to 6
  • Cook Time: 30 Min


  • 8 cups chicken stock or water, hot (see Note)
  • 2 tablespoons butter
  • 1 small onion, cut into small dice
  • Kosher salt
  • 1 1/2 cups Carnaroli or Vialone Nano rice
  • 3/4 cup dry white wine
  • Zest of 1 Meyer lemon
  • Juice of 1 Meyer lemon
  • 6 ounces soft cheese, such as Brie, Camembert, Goat Camembert, or similar cheese of choice
  • 2 ounces (1/2 cup) grated dry Jack, Parmigiano-Reggiano or similar cheese
  • 1 Meyer lemon, peeled, seeds, sections remove from their membranes
  • Black pepper in a mill
  • 2 tablespoons minced fresh Italian parsley


  1. Pour the chicken stock or water into a saucepan set over medium low heat.

  2. Heat the butter in a medium-sized pan set over medium heat. Add the onion and sauté until it is soft and fragrant, about 12 to 15 minutes. Season with salt and pepper. Add the rice and stir with a wooden spoon until each grain begins to turn milky white, about 2 minutes.

  3. Increase the heat to high, add the wine and stir continuously until it is completely absorbed by the rice. Add the stock 1/2 cup at a time, stirring after each addition until the liquid is nearly completely absorbed. Continue to add stock and stir until the rice is tender, about 16 to 20 minutes total cooking time.

  4. When the rice is almost tender, stir in the lemon zest, lemon juice, and cheeses. Taste, correct for salt, and stir in a final 1/4 cup of stock. Remove from the heat, quickly fold in the lemon, several turns of black pepepr and the parsley, ladle into soup plates and enjoy right away.

•Using all water will result in a light, bright, almost pristine risotto; using chicken stock will add a deeper layer. You can use a combination of the two; simply dilute about two cups of stock with water. If using a commercial stock, do not use more than 2 cups.

•To save leftover risotto for risotto cakes, store the risotto in a sealed container and use the recipe you'll find here.

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