This creamy meyer lemon risotto with smoked gouda is my most favorite risotto recipe that I have ever made, and eaten, and now I am finally sharing it with you all!
Finally my first post of 2020. December was so busy that I decided to take a little time off in the beginning of the year to relax with my family and get organized for all the recipes I want to share this year. Like this risotto.
I am a huge fan of risotto, I will almost always choose it over pasta when it is on the menu at Italian restaurants, and it is my favorite thing to make for dinner on weekends when I have a few extra minutes to take the time to make it. I can eat this risotto as is or make it with grilled chicken, shrimp, scallops or splurge and make steamed king crab legs to go with it for a holiday meal. This risotto goes with everything.
My meyer lemon tree is bursting again this year so I waited for the lemons to be fully ripe before making this recipe to finally share with you all. I have made this risotto recipe a few times over the last few months, we even had it for Christmas dinner. Every time I make it I tweak it just a little bit and I think it’s absolutely perfect now.
My meyer lemon tree is next to my back patio just under my kitchen window. It is supposed to be a dwarf tree, but I think it thinks otherwise since it is now creeping up my window. It’s an over achiever of a tree. It is huge, produces a few hundred lemons a year now, they are huge lemons too, and it smells amazing. I love the aroma from the lemons in my yard and I love being able to walk a few steps out to my backyard to pick lemons whenever I want. They are the best lemons.
I swear one of these days I will remember to include ALL the recipe items in my ingredients photo. I left out the wine in this pic! Definitely do not forget the wine in the recipe. I use a dry white wine like sauvignon blanc, feel free to use whatever white wine you prefer.
Risotto is a process but it doesn’t have to be intimidating or take hours. Someone once told me they can make risotto in 18 minutes. I tried that once. Didn’t work out so well. It was still very undercooked. It takes me about 45 minutes from start to finish. I love making this on weekends when I have little more time to cook, weeknights are usually pretty busy here with my kids’ school and sports schedule.
Instead of inundating you with a gazillion step by step photos I made a little video for you all with the steps:
This is the texture that I like for risotto. Creamy but still a little on the firm side. Similar to al-dente pasta. Has just a bit of “bite” or chewy texture to it. Not soupy but oh so creamy.
I love a bit of Italian parsley for color and flavor in my meyer lemon risotto. I usually add it in at the very end and sprinkle it on top. Feel free to stir it in if desired.
Another addition I love to risotto is a little drizzle of olive oil and extra shredded parm. I love adding in my lemon olive oil from Luigi Tega. Its seriously the best olive oil I have ever had. Amazing quality.
This recipe gets its smoky flavor from smoked gouda. I was craving risotto one night and only had a little bit of parmesan cheese left in my fridge, I spied some leftover smoked gouda in my fridge from another recipe and decided to add it in. So glad I did. The subtle smoky flavor really adds a fantastic layer of flavor to this recipe.
A few notes about this recipe first:
- Use either Arborio or Carnaroli rice. It’s rice specific to risotto and will result in the texture you want.
- Do not pre-rinse or soak the rice, this will cause it to lose the starches you need for the risotto to have the correct texture.
- You can use either chicken or vegetable broth. I wouldn’t suggest using water because the broth adds more flavor. Water doesn’t.
- Keep your broth in a pot next to the risotto pot on medium low heat. You don’t want it simmering, but steaming. This way not too much evaporates while you are making the risotto.
- You may end up with leftover broth and that is ok. You want more than not enough when making this recipe
- The texture of the rice is up to you, you may not use all of the broth or you may end up using all of it. If you live in a drier climate or make the recipe during wintertime you may end up using it all. I never measure exactly how much total broth I end up using, I just add 8 cups to the pan and stop adding it when I reach the doneness level that I like.
- Risotto freezes and reheats well. You can either thaw at room temperature if frozen or in the refrigerator overnight. I like to reheat in a pan with a little extra broth. It won’t be the exact same texture when first made but still really good. You could also microwave it but I am not a fan of using my microwave other than storing cups of coffee for most of the day.
I have many more recipes planned with my meyer lemons so stay tuned for more! Hope you enjoy this smoky meyer lemon recipe as much as I do and please don’t hesitate to reach out to me with any questions about the recipe.