Lemon basil risotto is a GREAT vegetarian main course! I’ve pumped up the lemon flavor with fresh lemon juice and lemon zest. Added some zip to the basil by making it into a spinach basil pesto. (Yum!) And topped it all off with some creamy, rich burrata.
Though you should totally try both of those recipes, because burrata does shine there. 🙂 However, there is more to burrata than salads, as this lemon basil risotto shows. Burrata’s beautiful creaminess is just right for stirring into warm rice. It gives the risotto body and a certain luxurious feel which I love, while balancing the sharp, fresh lemony flavor of the rice.
Basically burrata here takes a recipe I would serve as a side and elevates it to a main dish.
The idea for this lemony burrata risotto came about from two things.
First, I wanted to add another risotto to the site. A few months ago I shared my Sausage Risotto here. I can’t believe it took me so long to post my first risotto! So many recipes and so little time I guess. 🙂 But I knew I wanted to add more risottos as time went on, and recently I was thinking about lemon risotto. A tasty and easy basic risotto dish.
But then, second, I was thinking about what I could make to show burrata’s range as an ingredient. I’m writing up an Ingredient Spotlight for burrata and wanted to post something a little different for it.
And, just like that, I realized what I needed was a lemon burrata risotto. However, that was a little beige. It needed color! Enter the spinach basil pesto and now we were talking.
We have color. We have flavor. We have sharp acid and creamy cheese. Everything balanced, just the way I like it.
– Happy Eating, Annemarie
- 1 1/2 cups arborio rice
- 4 cups vegetable or chicken stock
- 2 tbsp butter
- 1/2 tsp kosher salt
- 2 medium shallots minced
- 2 cloves garlic minced
- 1/2 cup white wine or vermouth
- 3 tbsp lemon juice
- 2 tsp lemon zest
- 1 cup baby spinach
- 1/2 cup basil
- 1/4 cup parsley
- 1 oz shredded parmesan cheese
- 1/4 cup olive oil
- 8 oz burrata cheese
Put the rice into a fine mesh strainer and place the strainer over a medium saucepan. Pour the vegetable or chicken stock over the rice to wash the starch off the grains and into the stock. Put the saucepan on medium heat and bring it to a simmer. Once it's simmering, shut off the heat and cover the saucepan to keep it hot.
Melt the butter over medium heat in a large skillet or saucier. Let the butter foam up and subside and then add the salt and shallots. Saute the shallots until soft and golden, about 3-4 minutes. Add the garlic and saute for 30 seconds more.
Add the rice and saute for 2 minutes, or until it smells a little toasty. Add the wine wine; simmer until absorbed, 1-2 minutes. Add the stock a ladleful or two at a time, stirring occasionally. Allow each addition to be almost absorbed (you don't want the rice to get dry and stick to bottom) and keep the rice at a very gentle simmer. The risotto will be done when you have used most of the stock and the rice just tender but not mushy, about 20-25 minutes. Taste the risotto and add more salt if needed. Stir in the lemon juice and lemon zest.
While the risotto is cooking, make the spinach basil pesto. Add the spinach, basil, and parsley to the bowl of a food processor and pulse until they are finely chopped. Add the parmesan cheese, turn on the processor, and then drizzle in the olive oil. Once everything is combined, set the pesto aside until the risotto is done.
To finish the risotto, stir in the pesto. Then taste and see if it needs more salt or lemon juice and adjust the seasoning. Portion out the risotto to four bowls. Top each bowl of risotto with 2 oz of burrata. Sprinkle a little more parmesan or finely chopped basil over the risotto if desired.
When measuring the spinach and herbs for the pesto, pack down the cups so they are tightly filled.
Stay near your risotto as it cooks but don't feel the need to stand over it, stirring constantly. Just make sure the rice doesn't get dry and give it a few stirs whenever you add more stock.