Meyer Lemon Risotto

When my neighbor Helen first left a bag of her freshly picked tomatoes on my front porch a few years ago I was reinvigorated. I had several failed or half-hearted attempts at gardens and never had much luck. I had also gone to the farmers markets but always harbored the secret belief that the produce wasn’t any better, or more “local” than what was at my local supermarket.

Like bread crumbs along the path, Helen’s tomatoes led me to her amazing garden of lettuce, corn, figs, herbs, artichokes, tangerines, oranges and meyer lemons – all within yards of my front door. Soon we planted a garden and the fresh deliciousness was even closer.

Here is another recipe made from Helen’s meyer lemon tree:



  • 3-4 Meyer Lemons
  • 1 Cup Arborio Rice
  • 4 Cups Chicken Broth
  • 1 Small White Onion, diced
  • 2 Cloves Garlic, minced
  • 1/2 Cup Parmesan, grated
  • 1 Tablespoon Lemon Zest
  • 2 Tablespoons Olive Oil
  • 2 Tablespoons Finely Chopped Rosemary
  • Salt and Papper
  • Sugar


  • Chef’s Knife
  • Paring Knife
  • Fine Grater
  • Medium Grater
  • Small Sauce Pan
  • Medium Sauce Pan
  • Ladle
  • Wooden Spoon

For some reason people are afraid to tackle risotto. As you can see, there is nothing to it and your friends and family will be delighted and impressed.

  1. Zest the lemons. You probably won’t need to zest all of them. It will depend on the thickness of the skin.
  2. Peal the lemons, removing all the seeds, pith and any other tough white stuff.
  3. Roughly chop the remaining meat of the lemons.
  4. Put the chopped lemon in a little dish or bowl. Sprinkle with a little table sugar and set aside to macerate.
  5. Pour the chicken (or vegetable) broth into a smallish pan and add about 1/2 cup water. Warm over low flame. I usually put this on the back burner so I can ladle it into the front pan without dripping.
  6. Heat the oil in the other pan.
  7. Add the onion and garlic and sauté until the onion is translucent. Add a little salt and pepper.
  8. Slowly add the rice and stir until completely coated with the oil.
  9. Add a couple ladles of broth and stir.
  10. Cook over med. low heat. The concept of having to stir risotto constantly is a myth. The reason for stiffing is to expose all of the rice to the broth and keep it from sticking to the bottom of the pan.
  11. Continue replenishing the broth as it is absorbed into the rice. Stir each time.
  12. Continue this process until all of the broth is absorbed and the rice has softened. This should take about 25-30 minutes.
  13. Taste the rice. It should be al dente. If it is still a little hard cook for another 5 minutes.
  14. When it is done, turn the heat off and stir in the cheese.
  15. Add the lemon zest and sugared lemon bits. Stir together.
  16. Add the rosemary and adjust the salt and pepper.

Like the lemon pasta yesterday, this is great all on it’s own or as a base for shrimp, scallops or chicken.


One comment on “Meyer Lemon Risotto

  1. angela says:

    Here’s what I do when I have too many lemons.
    Ok this one is for my L.A. friends with lemon trees – if you’re stealing them from your neighbour, make sure you don’t get caught or make extra as a peace offering!
    You will need: As many lemons as you can fit into a jar (use a large jar)
    Rock salt.
    First cut off the stems, then cut the lemons vertically, without cutting all the way through. Then cut from the other side, stopping before you get to the end. Then fill each cut with a tablespoon of salt, or as much as you can cram in, then put it in the jar. When you have filled the jar, shake it and put the lid on. The salt will extract the juice from the lemons. And after a day or two of turning the jar, top up with water and leave with the lid on. They will be ready to use in about 3 weeks.
    Delicious with Moroccan and Mediterranean dishes like couscous, chicken etc.

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