Risotto with Lemon

Risotto al Limone

Preparation info

  • Difficulty


  • Serves


    as a main course

Appears in

How to Cook Italian

How to Cook Italian

By Giuliano Hazan

Published 2005

  • About

When my mother-in-law, Jackie, comes to visit around Thanksgiving, she usually brings wonderfully fragrant, sweet Meyer lemons that she grows in her California backyard. When I made this typical Italian risotto with them, it was superb.

Total time: 40 minutes


  • 6 cups homemade meat broth or ½ each beef and chicken bouillon cube dissolved in 6 cups water
  • ½ medium yellow onion
  • 3 tablespoons butter
  • 2 lemons
  • cups rice for risotto (Arborio, Carnaroli, or Vialone Nano)
  • Salt
  • cup freshly grated Parmigiano-Reggiano


  1. Put the broth in a pot over high heat and bring to a boil. Lower the heat to maintain a very gentle simmer.
  2. Peel and finely chop the onion. Put it in a heavy-bottomed braising pan with 2 tablespoons of the butter. Place over medium-high heat and sauté until it turns a rich golden color, about 5 minutes.
  3. While the onion is sautéing, grate the zest from the lemons, then juice them.
  4. Add the rice to the onion and stir until it is well coated. Add about 1 cup of the hot broth and continue stirring. Add only enough broth to produce the consistency of a rather thick soup and wait until all the liquid is absorbed before adding more. After the rice has cooked for 15 minutes, season with salt and add half the grated lemon zest and 3 tablespoons of the lemon juice. Continue cooking until the rice is al dente, 5 to 10 minutes more.
  5. Remove the risotto from the heat and stir in the remaining 1 tablespoon butter and the Parmigiano. Serve at once, sprinkling the remaining lemon zest over each portion.