We’d all love to be holidaying on the Amalfi Coast, plump lemons heavy on the trees and pebbly beaches showcasing lithe Italian limbs bronzed in the way only the Mediterranean summer sun can. Soon reader, soon. In the meantime, here’s a taste of the Italian Riviera courtesy of Oceania’s lemony and indulgently creamy risotto. Bellissimo!
2 tbsp butter
1 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
1 cup finely chopped shallots
1 thyme sprig
120ml dry white wine, preferably Northern Italian
125g Arborio rice
700ml chicken stock, hot
125g shredded Parmigiano-Reggiano
125g fresh peas, blanched
3tbsp lemon zest
1tbsp minced preserved lemon (see recipe below)
Kosher salt and freshly ground white pepper
In a large heavy-bottomed pan over medium-high heat, warm the butter and oil. Add the shallots and thyme and sweat the shallots until soft, about 3 minutes. Add the wine and simmer until the alcohol evaporates, about 2 minutes. Add the rice and parch, stirring constantly, for about 2 minutes.
Remove the thyme and decrease the heat to medium. Using a wooden spoon, stir in the stock ¼ cup at a time, allowing the rice to absorb the stock before adding more. Continue stirring constantly until all stock is absorbed and the rice is creamy and al dente, about 17 minutes. Stir in the cheese, peas and lemon zest. Garnish with the preserved lemon and season to taste with salt and pepper.
Preserved Lemon Recipe
6 unwaxed lemons
2/3 cup salt
300ml lemon juice, plus more as needed
Wash the lemons very well, scrubbing thoroughly.
Cut each lemon into six wedges and remove the seeds. Place the lemons in a sterilized glass jar and add the salt and lemon juice, adding more juice if needed to ensure the jar is nearly full and the lemons are completely covered. Seal the jar with an airtight lid and store in the back of the refrigerator. Rotate the jar daily for the first week.
Lemons will be ready to use after 4 to 6 weeks. To use the lemons, use a paring knife to remove the salty flesh and pith from the rind. Discard the flesh and pith. Slice, dice or mince the rind for use.