Lemon and Broad Bean Risotto

Just to prove I don’t always just eat sweet treats, here is a delicious risotto recipe that doesn’t need butter, cream or cheese to make it tasty.

This recipe will make enough to serve 4 people, and goes very nicely with a side of fresh steamed brocolli. It takes about 20 minutes to make (longer if you add extra shelling time as I’ll explain!)

Ingredients:

  • 300g risotto rice (I use arborio but carnarolli works too!)
  • 1l vegetable stock (I just make it up using a stock cube and boiling water – quick and easy)
  • 1 lemon, you’ll need the rind from the whole lemon and juice from half of it. Unless you like it really lemony like I do in which case just whack it all in there! If you are out of fresh lemons you can use juice from a bottle but it doesn’t give quite the same zingy taste.
  • Broad beans (there’s no fixed amount, do as many or as few as you’d like!)
  • Oil for cooking
  • About 1 tsp parsley (fresh or dried)
  • Salt and pepper to taste

The first thing to do is prepare your stock so that it’s hot and ready to be used, either by the boiling water and stock cube method or any other way that works for you! It needs to be hot though.

To prepare the risotto heat a little oil in a saucepan (I use sunflower or rapeseed oil) and when it’s hot add the dry risotto rice, stirring for 15s or so until all the rice is coated. Note: If you want to make this recipe even healthier you can use a few tablespoons of the stock to fry the rice in, instead of the oil.

Once the rice is completely coated add some of the stock. To make risotto ‘properly’ you add the stock a little at a time, stirring continuously, and don’t add more liquid until the last lot has been absorbed. This makes it beautifully creamy and stops it from sticking to the bottom of the pot. I find that about 1/5th of the liquid at a time works well.

Now for the broad beans: I’m going to take this opportunity to admit that I am a self-confessed broad bean snob and I really only like them if they have bean double-shelled as I think they’re too tough and not nearly as nice otherwise. So usually I coerce my husband into helping with the shelling. If we have fresh beans you do this first then add to the risotto to cook them. If you are using frozen then partially cook them first, drain and run under the cold tap to stop them cooking further, shell, then add to the risotto to finish cooking. The beans should be added about half way through the cooking time.

Once you’ve added about 4/5th of the stock to your risotto (still stirring continuously!) it’s time to season it. Add the lemon rind, juice, parsley, salt and pepper. Make sure you have a little taste to check the seasoning is to your own taste though, remembering it’s easier to add extra than try to remove it!

Add the last of the liquid and keep stirring until the grains of rice are soft in the centre, then serve and enjoy!

Variation: this recipe works equally well with peas, as I find I usually have them in the freezer but not always broad beans 🙂 Or you could use sweetcorn but for that combination I find it tastes better with less lemon.

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