Lemon Risotto with Mascarpone

Overhead shot of lemon mascarpone risotto.

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.

Lemon Mascarpone Risotto is a totally indulgent side dish or vegetarian main course. #vegetarian #risotto #lemonrisotto

Indulge in this luxurious Lemon Mascarpone Risotto. Rich, creamy, and tangy - Its bright flavor makes a perfect vegetarian entrée or a delicious side dish. | platingsandpairings.com

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.

Lemon Mascarpone Risotto in a black bowl.

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.

Two bowls of Lemon Mascarpone Risotto with sparkling wine alongside.

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

Overhead shot of lemon mascarpone risotto.

Lemon Risotto with Mascarpone

Course: Main Dish
Cuisine: Italian
Keyword: risotto
Prep Time: 10 minutes
Cook Time: 25 minutes
Total Time: 35 minutes
Servings: 4 servings
Calories: 529 kcal
Author: Erin @ Platings & Pairings inspired by Rachael Ray

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


  1. In a medium saucepan, heat the broth, saffron and lemon peel over medium-low heat. Cover and keep warm.
  2. 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.
  3. 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.
  4. 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!
  5. Garnish with basil and additional grated parmesan.
Nutrition Facts
Lemon Risotto with Mascarpone
Amount Per Serving
Calories 529 Calories from Fat 180
% Daily Value*
Total Fat 20g 31%
Saturated Fat 9g 45%
Cholesterol 32mg 11%
Sodium 411mg 17%
Potassium 121mg 3%
Total Carbohydrates 63g 21%
Dietary Fiber 2g 8%
Sugars 1g
Protein 15g 30%
Vitamin A 8.1%
Vitamin C 1.5%
Calcium 32.2%
Iron 19.6%
* Percent Daily Values are based on a 2000 calorie diet.

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.

Bottles of Gloria Ferrer Sparkling Wine.

Overhead shot of two bowls of Lemon Mascarpone Risotto.

Looking for more risotto recipes? Be sure to try these too:

Pumpkin Risotto with Goat Cheese & Dried Cranberries

Overhead shot of pumpkin risotto in bowl with goat cheese & cranberries
Pea Risotto with Mascarpone, Mint & Prosciutto

Pea Risotto with Mascarpone, Mint and Prosciutto is rich, creamy and totally decadent. | platingsandpairings.com

Seared Scallops with Lemon Tarragon Risotto

These Seared Scallops with Sweet Pea, Lemon & Tarragon Risotto are the perfect romantic dinner recipe to celebrate Valentine's Day or other special occasion. | platingsandpairings.com



  1. April @ Girl Gone Gourmet

    Gotta love those kitchen fails! Although I’m sure the grilled cheese tasted amazing even though you had to scoop up the filling with a spoon 🙂 The risotto sounds delicious!


    1. Erin

      Thanks April – Your beef noodle bowls are calling my name right now!!!


  2. Allison

    Love this in the spring! Mascarpone is deceiving because it comes in containers with tiramisu all over it ha, but I love using it in savory preparations. 🙂


  3. heather @french press

    you had me at mascarpone – and I love it with lemon! what a delicious meatless main dish


  4. Kristen @ A Mind Full Mom

    That is genius that you added mascarpone. I can’t wait to try this one 🙂


    1. Erin

      Thanks Kristen! It makes for SUPER creamy risotto and adds a bit of tang!


  5. Carol Borchardt

    Erin, this looks divine! I just made risotto with asparagus and mascarpone but I love the addition of the lemon and saffron. Going to try that next.


    1. Erin

      Thanks Carol! Asparagus would be great added in with the lemon too!!!


  6. jayne

    This risotto sounds wondeful – it is top of my list for ,my next dinner cooking for my vegetarian friend! She will love it


    1. Erin

      I hope she loves it Jayne!


  7. Marlynn | UrbanBlissLife

    This risotto looks so creamy and yummy!


  8. Erin

    Woah, that looks amazingly decadent. Adding this to my recipe list!


  9. Melissa

    I’ve never made risotto but this looks amazing. I like the idea of pairing it with prime rib. That would make a nice, hardy holiday meal.


  10. Pech

    I love risotto in the winter for some comfort, and love how this sound rich with cheesyness but has a little tang and citrus to brighten it up! I will definitely try this recipe out


  11. Kelsey

    The basil, parmesan, and lemon sound like an amazing combo.


  12. Maxene

    Erin, I am happy to know we all have kitchen blunders! Sorry it was an expensive mistake but look where it all landed you, with this tasty Lemon Mascarpone Risotto! I will be using this recipe for some cold weather comfort!


  13. Meg

    Oh wow, this sounds great! I love a creamy risotto – mascarpone would be perfect to add to it.


  14. Create/Enjoy

    Sounds good! Would never have thought to combine saffron and mascarpone!


  15. Gina

    I haven’t had risotto in so long! I cannot wait to try this!


  16. Tess Frazier

    Absolutely perfect side dish with roasted lamb! My guests were quite pleased with this dish. And, I was able to serve my lamb with a white wine (I know, gasp!), a beautiful Semillion, that complemented the richness of the lamb and the risotto. This one is a keeper for sure. Loving your recipes. Thanks!


    1. Erin

      Oooh – Your dinner and wine pairing sound amazing Tess! What a great combination!


  17. Joseph

    I am going to try this dish for a romantic dinner. Do you have any prime rib recipe to go with this risotto?


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