We love hosting dinner parties, especially as spring gets closer and we can start using bright, fresh ingredients instead of relying on the heavier stews and roasts we ate all winter. In the transitional period between the seasons, is there anything that hits the spot more than a lemony risotto? The citrus zest and juice keep the flavor of your dish light and bright, while the creamy risotto is still luxurious enough to keep you satisfied on cold days. Giada De Laurentiis, Italian food superstar and Queen of Pasta, has found an even more impressive way to showcase the beauty of a lemon risotto: she serves her risotto in lemon cups!
The risotto itself is pretty standard. Arborio rice is slowly stirred and simmered in white wine and chicken broth (use veggie broth to make it meatless). Once the rice is tender, the risotto is enriched with creamy mascarpone cheese, Parmesan, and butter, which gives it a rich, silky texture.
It would be delicious on its own, but all of those decadent ingredients need something to brighten them up. Enter lemons! Lemon zest and lemon juice are added to the risotto last, along with salt and pepper, to create a dish that’s balanced beautifully.
To really elevate the experience, de Laurentiis serves the risotto in lemon cups. These are made by slicing the tops off of a few lemons, then scooping out the lemon flesh with a grapefruit spoon (don’t toss it out – use the lemon pulp to infuse a pitcher of water with tangy flavor!). The fragrance of the lemon will waft up as you take a bite of the risotto, making for a fully sensory dining experience.
Leave it to Giada to find a way to make a simple, comforting recipe that’s still elegant enough for entertaining company.
Before you go, check out some of Giada’s best pasta recipes below: