Limoncello Risotto

Creamy, warm risotto is snuggly, comfort food to me.  In fact the entire process is soothing, almost tranquil and serene.  Yes, really.  I know I’ve heard from many who fear the process of making risotto.  As a matter of fact, and complete surprise to me as I was just about to post this, Katherine at Rufus’ Food and Spirit Guide posted her risotto recipe and first attempt at making it.  A successful attempt, I might add and very well done Katherine!!

Without a doubt, making risotto does involve some time and patience.  Rarely would I prepare risotto when making a full dinner of different dishes.  I’ve used one basic method for making my risotto for years now.   I guess it serves about 4-6; depending on the serving sizes.  I find that a little goes a long way; it’s a rich filling entre.  When I do serve for a dinner party, it would be in the first course, as it should be served as soon as it is done. 

The following is my method.  There is no recipe to pull out and study.  The quantities I use are always the same; the ingredients are varied as to my desires from stirring in seafood to veggies to various herbs and spices.  I normally use Arborio rice to make my risotto; although there are also Carnaroli and Vialone Nero (difference is mostly in starch content; Vialone Nero is also the smallest grain.)  

Along with my method, please follow along to prepare for this soothing experience.  Turn on some soft and mellow music or jazzy blues, whatever makes you feel good.  Dim the kitchen lights, light a few candles.  I loathe bright lights; I prefer to cook by candlelight which drives my daughter crazy!!  Open a glass of good white wine; you’ll need this to cook with, so go ahead and pour yourself a glass.  However, in this recipe, I decided to use Limoncello in place of the wine.  

I truly enjoyed the  this risotto, it was lightly flavored by the lemon zest and Limoncello and complimented by the gentle fresh thyme.  Velvety creamy delicious!  

Limoncello Risotto

Mise en place; have everything ready to go…..

1 ½ cups of Arborio rice

1 quart of either homemade chicken stock or veggie broth (that would be one on my quart containers or one box of purchased broth), poured in a separate saucepan and brought to a simmer

White wine – however, in this recipe I’ve replaced the wine with Limoncello, ½ cup divided (make sure the wine is not chilled)

Olive oil and butter, about 2 tablespoons of each to begin, 1 tablespoon additional at the end

1 shallot, finely minced

Herbs of your choice, in this case I used thyme, about 2 tablespoons chopped

Zest from one organic lemon

¼ cup freshly grated parmesan cheese

Kosher salt and freshly ground pepper to taste

In the large saucepan, heat the olive oil and butter.  Using a wooden spoon, gently sauté the shallots, do not allow them to burn.  (Many times I will remove the onions as I prefer not to have them in my finished risotto.)  Add in the risotto and toast very lightly only a few minutes.  The key to risotto making is in the gradual addition of liquids, basically a ladleful at a time and kept at a simmer, i.e, low heat.  Begin with ¼ cup of Limoncello (normally it is the white wine).  Stir slowly to swirl in the liquid.   Take a sip of wine; you do not need to stir nonstop. 

After the Limoncello (or wine) is absorbed in the rice, begin adding in ladles of the warm, simmering broth.  Cold liquids would shock the rice, pouring the broth in gradually and stirring creates the creaminess. Continue adding in ladles of broth as the rice absorbs it.   Set the table; dine by candlelight, even if alone.  

At the point where you’ve used all the broth; the risotto has released its starch and is now creamy, similar to pasta, is cooked al la dente, with a bite.  I like to finish with another ¼ cup of Limoncello (or wine), stirring to absorb and toss in any herbs, in this case the thyme, lemon zest and parmesan cheese.  Add salt and pepper to taste.  For a nice rich finish, swirl in a tablespoon of warmed cream or butter.  Serve immediately.

59 thoughts on “Limoncello Risotto

  1. I can just see you cooking by candlelight sipping a glass of wine with music in the back. I’m not to that advance stage yet. This is such a beautiful recipe. I can’t wait to try it. Oh wait, I’ve already proven my risotto prowess. I can’t wait for Greg to make this!

  2. Splendid! I’d not thought of using Lemoncello, but it sounds great! Perhaps some lemon basil? Maybe as a bed for some roasted fish.. The options!

  3. I agree completely about the glass of wine while cooking this gentle dish, it needs soft light! and the limoncello in there must have been a fantastic addition! c

  4. There is nothing more satisfying in the winter than a well-done risotto. I love the idea of using limocello – I bet the lemon flavors were wonderful again the richness of the dish. I could see this with on grilled asparagus on the side.

  5. Hi Linda – you know, a “real” risotto is still on my list of things to do. I’ve made half-hearted attempts before but nothing which actually ended up being what a risotto is supposed to be like.

    I’m not familiar with limoncello… I’ve never tried it so I can’t talk about that but your risotto definitely looks creamy and delicious – great job 🙂

  6. I love that you used limoncello instead of wine here…great idea! And I definitely agree with you about having a glass of wine while making the rice. Makes the stirring process go much quicker! 😉 Your risotto looks creamy and delicious. YUM!

  7. I love risotto and don’t make it as often as I’d like. Your base recipe with the thyme, lemon and parmesan, and this version with the limoncello in particular sounds really delicious. And it’s so pretty, too!

  8. Your adding limoncello is a great twist to an old favorite, Linda. I bet it really brightens up the dish and I definitely want to give it a try. And thanks for the reminder: I need to buy Arborio rice. 🙂

  9. I love that you’ve replaced the wine with limoncello. What a fantastic flavor idea!

    Sadly I have never cooked by candlelight. I feel guilty saying it. It sounds so romantic. I will rectify this at once 🙂 well, as soon as it gets dark.

  10. Great idea! Love how creative – and brave! – you were to try this.
    It would be my luck to spend a half-hour stirring, and wind up with something inedible…
    Will suggest it to Hubby – he’s the risotto guy around here…

  11. You and Katherine are definitely motivating me to try making risotto. For whatever reason, it scares me but I can’t wait to give it a try. Thanks for the motivation.. I just love this recipe 🙂

  12. I’ve been making a lemon risotto for years but never used limoncello before! You just opened my eyes to all sorts of possibilities. What a great winter dish for all of us in the cold!

  13. Linda, when I read the title of you post I was like “WHAT?, Limoncello risotto?” and WOW, the risotto looks awesome, love the lemony flavor with the wine…the creamy texture…delicious!
    Thanks for this nice recipe and hope you are having a fantastic week 🙂

  14. Love the creaminess of risotto but I’m a little turned off by the constant stirring. Your’s looks absolutely delicious and it had to taste incredible with the Limoncello. I almost bought a bottle when I went to the liquor store the other day. Now, I have to go back and buy it…I’m going to give your recipe a try. Thanks for the inspiration!

    1. Lol…It’s not really constant stirring. At each ladle of broth, the broth is stirred in, then allow to simmer a bit and stir again to see how much has been absorbed. It’s best not to be working on alot of other dishes at the same time; it may cause you to be turned off by giving the risotto so much attention!!

  15. I need some risotto ASAP! I haven’t it had it in a while and it’s easily one of my favorite foods. I like that you used limoncello in this. I’m sure that had to be so refreshing with the thyme. Looks like we’ll be eating another dinner from Linda soon! 🙂

  16. What a wonderful idea to use the limoncello for more lemony goodness! This looks absolutely beautiful! I’ve made risotto once and I thought it was very tasty, and it is soothing in it’s own way 🙂

  17. I love risotto. It truly is comfort food at its best. And yes, I also stand there stirring it with the music playing and glass of wine in hand. I’ve made a lemon risotto before but used basil instead of thyme. Delicious!

  18. OK, this is beyond going to be good. Beyond. I don’t come over enough, I usually just read from my e-mail, but I wanted to tell you that I’ve tried out at least 3 of your recipies and loved them. Wish I could name them for you . . . but you can add this one to the list. I LOVE risotto.

  19. I am absolutely sure I have died and gone to heaven! I have never made risotto and feel well armed to give it a go with your gentle nudging and careful instructions. I am allergic to WINE! Insert scream now please. So this limoncello one sounds absolutely perfect to me. I could do vodka shots while i wait for the risotto, no? I am not allergic to vodka.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *