I love a good risotto, but sometimes I feel it needs a little something more… A bit of crunch or a little bite can be welcome, especially when enjoying risotto as a main dish so it doesn't quite feel like you're having baby food for dinner. I love what a handful of flaked almonds adds to this lemony risotto. It's flavorful, comforting and lighter than you might expect from a risotto. Serve this as a starter, a side dish alongside a meaty main or as a main dish on its own, perhaps with a veggie side or two. Either way, this is easy enough to make with a little time, elbow grease and ingredients you most likely already have on hand.
2 banana shallots, finely chopped
100g butter, divided in half
1 clove garlic
200g Arborio rice
800ml chicken stock
3-4 tablespoons grated parmesan cheese
Zest of 1 lemon
50g flaked almonds
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
Parmesan shavings for serving (optional)
1. In a medium, flame-proof round casserole or large saucepan, melt 1/2 of the butter over medium-low heat and cook the shallots until tender. Shred in the garlic using a microplane grater. Stir and continue to cook for another minute or so.
2. Put the chicken stock in a pot to boil and reduce to a simmer. Leave it simmering throughout the process of making the risotto.
3. Add the rice and cook, stirring continuously until it starts to brown a little.
4. Slowly add the stock, starting with 1 ladle and stir constantly until all of the liquid is absorbed. Continue this process over and over, adding 1 ladle at a time and continuing to cook and stir until the liquid is absorbed each time until all of the liquid has been used.
5. Remove from the heat and stir in the rest of the butter, the shredded parmesan cheese, pepper, lemon zest and flaked almonds. Serve hot, topped with parmesan shavings.