What’s cooking today: Rosemary & lemon risotto

Tony Jackman’s rosemary and lemon risotto, served in a risotto bowl by Mervyn Gers. (Photo: Tony Jackman)

Rosemary, lemon, onion and garlic are the aromatics that make this risotto recipe. Add white wine and Parmesan cheese and you have a dish that’s delicious in its simplicity.

Risotto doesn’t have to be laden with mushrooms, or bacon and courgettes, or chorizo and peas, or asparagus, or seafood. Those all make great risottos, but simple flavourings work their wonders too. Saffron, for instance, makes a superb risotto. And so do rosemary and lemon.

This recipe is best served with this column.


2 Tbsp rosemary needles, very finely chopped

Zest and juice of 1 large lemon

2 glasses dry white wine

1 litre chicken stock

200 ml fresh cream

Generous amount of olive oil

3 cloves garlic, finely chopped

1 onion, finely chopped

500 g arborio rice

Parmesan for grating on top (optional)

Salt and black pepper, to taste


Heat 3 Tbsp olive oil in a large, heavy pan and add the chopped onion and garlic. Cook, stirring, until the onion has softened but not changed colour. Remove the contents to a side dish.

Heat the stock and pour it into a large jug. Add the cream, lemon juice and zest and the rosemary needles to the stock. Stir it well.

Add more olive oil to the pan (be generous, the rice needs it) and add all the rice. On a low heat, move the rice around this way and that with a flat-ended wooden spoon until all the grains of rice are coated.

Add half of the white wine to the rice and cook, stirring, until it is incorporated. Add the rest of the wine and repeat. Season to taste with salt and black pepper.

When the liquid has been absorbed, add a ladle full of the stock at a time, stirring in the same way and only adding more once the liquid has been absorbed by the rice, a ladleful at a time.

If the rice is still too al dente, add more water and cook in the same way for a few minutes more.

Stir in a cup of finely grated Parmesan for a more luxurious finish, but the risotto is also good just as it is. DM/TGIFood

Tony Jackman is Galliova Food Writer of the Year 2021. His book, foodSTUFF, is now available in the DM Shop. Buy it here.

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Mervyn Gers Ceramics supplies dinnerware for the styling of some TGIFood shoots. For more information, click here.


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