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Tonight’s Dinner: Lemon ricotta risotto recipe

Risotto is a great winter meal because it’s thick, rich and one of the classic comfort foods. Adding lemon juice not only brightens the rich, creamy dish, it brings a little bit of sunny spring to a dark winter evening.

If there’s one recipe I can never seem to get enough of, it’s risotto. I know a lot of you are scared off by risotto because of the amount of time required to make it, but as far as one-pot dinners go, you really can’t do much better. It’s filling, thick, rich, creamy and full of cheese. It’s almost like mac & cheese, but instead of pasta, you’re using rice. But what makes it even better than mac & cheese is the fact that you can add whatever vegetables or meats you’d like. Well that and the fact that alcohol is one of the main ingredients. But if you’re not a fan of white wine, you could use red, and if you hate wine altogether, you could use tequila. There are so many options when it comes to risotto, you could have it every night of the week and never have the same kind twice.

While I’ve made a ton of different kinds, the one thing I’d never considered using was lemon juice as a base. Luckily Sunset Magazine suggested it and I couldn’t be happier. Not only does the lemon juice give the risotto a nice tang, it brightens up the dish in a way no other juice can.

Lemon ricotta risotto

Serves 6


  • 3 – 4 slices prosciutto, chopped
  • 1 pound asparagus, chopped
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • 5 cups chicken broth
  • 1 onion, chopped
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 2 cups Arborio rice
  • 1/2 cup dry wine
  • 1/2 cup ricotta cheese
  • 1 cup frozen peas
  • 1/3 cup lemon juice
  • 3 tablespoons butter
  • 3 ounces Grana Padano cheese, shredded


  1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees F.
  2. Arrange asparagus on a baking sheet and drizzle with olive oil. Bake the asparagus until tender, about 15 minutes. Remove from oven and set aside to cool.
  3. Heat oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Add the onion and garlic and cook until tender, about five minutes. Add rice and cook until toasted, another two minutes. Add the wine and cook, stirring continuously until liquid is absorbed, about three minutes.
  4. Add broth, a half cup at a time, to the rice mixture and cook, stirring continuously, until the liquid is absorbed and the rice is tender and creamy, 20-30 minutes.
  5. Add the ricotta and lemon juice and continue stirring until the juice is absorbed, about three minutes. Add the butter and cheese and stir until both are melted and combined. Stir in the peas, asparagus, salt and pepper to taste. Divide the risotto among bowls, top with prosciutto and serve immediately.

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