This is a totally luxurious Lemon Risotto recipe. This tangy, creamy risotto is swirled with with mascarpone cheese. Its bright flavor makes a perfect vegetarian main course or a delicious side dish.
Here’s a stunner of a risotto recipe for you – creamy lemon risotto.
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. (I also made this Creamy Chicken Marsala with Mustard & Mascarpone, which you cannot miss either!)
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. You’ll find it in grocery stores in the tubbed cheese department (near the feta and goat cheese). If you can’t find it, you can swap in cream cheese.
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!!!
Lemon Risotto ingredients:
- Hot broth (vegetable broth or chicken stock)
- Lemon juice
- Lemon zest
- Olive oil
- Arborio rice
- Dry vermouth or white wine
- Mascarpone cheese
- Parmesan cheese
- Kosher salt and black pepper
Feel free to add in extra veggies or protein to your lemon parmesan risotto. Here are some great options:
- Peas: Add ⅔ cup of fresh or frozen peas at the end.
- Chicken: Cube and saute some chicken chicken breasts. Then stir them into your cooked risotto.
- Asparagus: Steam about 20 asparagus spears. Cut into 1-inch pieces then stir into the cooked risotto.
- Mushrooms: Add 8 ounces of thinly sliced mushrooms with the shallots, then saute for a few minutes.
- Prawns: Saute some shrimp, then add them to your cooked risotto.
- Scallops: Sear scallops in olive oil and butter, then top your risotto with them.
How to store & reheat:
Store leftovers in an airtight container in the refrigerator. It will last for up to three days. To reheat, add it to a pan with a bit of extra chicken broth and heat over medium heat.
What alcohol can you use in risotto?
- You can use a dry white wine or white (dry) vermouth for this risotto recipe. I love to keep dry vermouth on hand and often use it in recipes where white wine is called for. It will keep in your cupboard and it’s generally more affordable than white wine.
What to serve with Lemon Risotto:
- Easy Arugula Salad
- Sauteed Spinach
- Cherry Tomato Salad with Roasted Lemons
- Sous Vide Pork Tenderloin
- Steak Bites with Garlic Butter and Mustard Dipping Sauce
- Easy Roasted Chicken
And let’s not forget the wine… Never an option in our house.
To pair with this totally indulgent Lemon Risotto, I chose a totally decadent wine – Bubbles. And not just one bottle, but two bottles – a 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 the holiday season. Pair it with your sous vide Prime Rib at the Christmas table, or pop those bubbles and serve this risotto on New Years Eve. It would also be great for an at home date night, paired with some filet mignon or steak diane.
Wine pairings for lemon risotto:
- Chardonnay – Its butteriness and hints of citrus will pair very nicely.
- Pinot Gris – Its 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.
If you loved this Lemon Risotto I would appreciate it so much if you would give this recipe a star review! Also, be sure to snap a picture of your finished dish and share it with me on Instagram using the hashtag #platingsandpairings and tagging me @platingsandpairings.
More risotto recipes:
- Pumpkin Risotto with Goat Cheese & Dried Cranberries
- Pea Risotto with Mascarpone, Mint & Prosciutto
- Caprese Tomato Risotto
- Seared Scallops with Lemon Tarragon Risotto
- Shrimp Risotto
- Beet Risotto with Goat Cheese
- Mushroom Risotto with Truffle Mousse
- Instant Pot Risotto Recipe
Lemon Risotto with Mascarpone
- 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 2015. It was updated in 2022 to update the photographs and content. The recipe remains the same.