Indulge in this luxurious Lemon Risotto with Mascarpone. Rich, creamy, and tangy – Its bright flavor makes a perfect vegetarian entrée or a delicious side dish.
Welcome to Monday – AGAIN! I was so not ready for the weekend to be over. They always go by WAY too fast! In honor of this day, I’ve prepared a Meatless Monday special for you – Lemon Mascarpone Risotto. Ah-Maz-Ing – Tangy lemon mingles with the creaminess of the mascarpone cheese and a sprinkling of saffron – The colors are beautiful, the flavors are exciting and this dish comes together quickly and easily.
I recently attempted to make a gourmet (and expensive!) grilled cheese using white cheddar, mascarpone, ricotta and goat cheese – EPIC FAIL! The cheese was melting all over the place and was more on the plate than in the sandwich. Also, I heated up some roasted red pepper and tomato soup that I picked up at Trader Joe’s – I ended up getting a bit busy, not paying attention to the stove, and burning that as well! NOT my best night.
Anyway… I had leftover cheese for days so I decided to put the mascarpone to good use in this risotto. Mascarpone is an Italian soft cheese with a mild flavor – Because of this, it can be used in both sweet and savory dishes. It is used in the traditional Italian dessert of tiramisu.
The mascarpone lends a great creaminess to this risotto and is combined with parmesan to give an extra bite. The broth used for the risotto is infused with lemon peels and a sprinkling of saffron. The saffron lends an extra flavor to the dish and contributes to the beautiful color. However, if you don’t have any on hand, feel free to leave it out. The dish will still be amazing!!! I served this risotto alongside this Arugula Salad, however, it would also be great with some roasted broccoli or asparagus on the side.
And let’s not forget the wine… Never an option in our house.
To pair with this totally indulgent Lemon Mascarpone Risotto, I chose a totally decadent wine – Bubbles. And not just one bottle, but two bottles of Gloria Ferrer Sparkling Wine – Sonoma Brut and Blanc De Noirs. I mean, why not? Sometimes it’s fun to open up a couple different bottles of wine with dinner to sample and taste, and to see what works best with your palate.
This Lemon Risotto would be the perfect dish to serve during this holiday season – Pair it with your Prime Rib at the Christmas table, or pop those bubbles and serve this risotto on New Years Eve. Cheers!
Lemon Risotto Recipe
Lemon Risotto with Mascarpone
Indulge in this luxurious Lemon Risotto with Mascarpone. Rich, creamy, and tangy - Its bright flavor makes a perfect vegetarian entrée or a delicious side dish.
- 6 cups vegetable or chicken stock
- 2 lemons - 1 zested and juiced - 1 peeled yellow part only
- 2 tbsp . olive oil
- 2 shallots chopped
- 1 clove garlic chopped
- 1 1/2 cups arborio rice
- 1/2 cup dry vermouth
- pinch saffron
- 4 tablespoons mascarpone cheese
- 1 cup freshly grated parmesan cheese
- leaves A few of fresh basil torn
- In a medium saucepan, heat the broth, saffron and lemon peel over medium-low heat. Cover and keep warm.
- In a large pot or skillet, heat the olive oil over medium-high heat. Add the shallots and garlic and cook until softened. Add the rice and cook for about 1 minute. Season with salt and pepper.
- Add the wine and cook until evaporated. Add about 2 cups of warm stock and cook, stirring occasionally, until the liquid has evaporated. Add 2 more cups of stock, and continue cooking until evaporated again. Add 1 cup stock and the lemon zest, and cook until evaporated. Taste the rice to see if it's done. If needed, add additional broth and cook for a bit longer. It should have a bite to it, but be creamy in texture.
- Remove from heat and stir in lemon juice, mascarpone and parmesan. Season with salt and pepper to taste. If you have any citrus salts on hand - definitely use those!
- Garnish with basil and additional grated parmesan.
This recipe was originally published in April 2015. It was updated in December 2017 to update the photographs and content. The recipe remains the same.
Wine Pairings for Lemon Risotto:
- Chardonnay – It’s butteriness and hints of citrus will pair very nicely.
- Pinot Gris – It’s acidity will cut through the richness of the dish and lend a brightening essence to the dish.
- Bubbles (Champagne, Cava, Prosecco). The effervescence mingles nicely with the rich, creamy flavors.
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