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Creamy Lemon Parmesan Risotto

If I have learned one thing is that people love risotto. This, dare I call it, superior carb is a blank canvas for endless flavor profiles. Once you learn how to make it, you can really make it anyway you like, or come here for risotto inspiration. I thought this time…. why not make it creamier? This creamy lemon parmesan risotto is a super luscious, melt in your mouth risotto with a pop of acidity and a touch of salt thanks to the fried capers. Like my other risotto recipes, this quick and easy dish can in fact be made without that constant stirring arm workout.

Fried Capers What?

This risotto is a play on my Lemon Caper Pasta…. and all my other lemon caper recipes. What can I say I love a good briny lemon combo. These little pops of salt and lemon flavor add so much brightness to a dish however adding out of the jar capers here didn’t feel right. Once fried these capers lose a lot of their vinegar taste and instead are nutty and crispy. Please don’t skip out on these. I know frying can be intimidating so below are some tips on frying these little buggers.

Use a small pot – The smaller the pot the less oil you need to use. You are looking for about an inch of oil.

Drain and Dry – Make sure the capers are absolutely dry before slotting them in the hot oil. Lay the capers out on a few layers of paper towels and pat dry. Any moisture left on them will cause the oil to violently bubble, and splatter.

Multiple rounds – Don’t be impatient here, fry a single layer of capers at a time. Depending on how many you are making this might be 2-3 rounds of frying.

up close of creamy lemon parmesan risotto

What You’ll Need for Creamy Lemon Parmesan Risotto

  • Arborio Rice– Or Carnaroli, although this variety is harder to come by. Unfortunately, the long grain rice you have chilling in your pantry won’t work for this recipe. Different varieties of rice absorb liquid differently, have a different starch level, and in the end just won’t yield the same results.
  • Broth– Either chicken or vegtable work well with this risotto.
  • Wine – FINALLY! Do you know how many comments I received on TikTok about why I do not add wine to my risotto. Contrary to popular belief you do not need wine in your risotto. In fact, choose the WRONG wine and you are left with an unpleasant bitter taste. I will say though; this recipe needs the wine. Choose a nice dry white that you would drink.
  • Shallot– I love substituting onions for shallots when appropriate. Shallots are sweeter and have a less pungent taste than a white onion, which works well for this recipe.
  • Garlic – Fresh only, as always.
  • Lemon – Fresh only, not only because nothing beats the brightness of fresh lemon juice, but you will also need the zest.
  • Parmesan Cheese – Leave the pre-shredded, pre-powdered parm for a different recipe. Fresh only here. You’re free to add more than what the recipe calls for.
  • Heavy Cream – Obviously this is what makes this dish super creamy. A lot of times I say that you can sub out heavy cream for half and half but here you really need the full cream to make this risotto luscious.
  • Butter
plate of creamy lemon parmesan risotto

Step By Step

If you already know how to make risotto, skip ahead and read the recipe or even better make it! If you only know how to make risotto by constantly stirring read below. I will say this in every risotto post i put up, you do not need to constantly stir! In fact if you over stir, your risotto can and will get gluey.

Sauté the base – Add butter or olive oil to a wide pot or pan on low heat. Sauté the onions, garlic, shallots, whatever the base might be. This is also the place to cook down heartier vegetables.

Toast the risotto – Add the dry not washed rice to the pan and toast it for 3-5 minutes until grains start to become translucent. I can not stress enough do not wash the rice beforehand, this will completely strip the rice of the starches it needs to make this dish super creamy.

Add wine or broth – If adding wine (optional) deglaze the pan and cook for another 2-3 minutes until the alcohol cooks off. Have your broth in a sauce pan on the stove to stay warm. When you are ready add the broth, but not all at once! For every cup of risotto you need approx 4 cups of broth. Have extra on hand! I found with different brands of arborio rice I needed + or – a cup. Depending on your pan this might be split into 3 or 4 rounds. My rule of thumb is to pour just enough broth to cover the risotto.

Mix, Add, Shake – Mix 2-3 times per broth add. If you end up mixing more, no biggie! Also give the pan a mix or a shake midway to ensure the rice isn’t sticking to the bottom. Once broth has mostly absorbed add more broth until all broth has been used.

Final Adds – In the last few minutes add the cheese, cream, and more delicate vegetables or precooked protein (ie. lobster or crab).

Risotto should be creamy, and loose. The rice should not be mushy, but shouldn’t be crunchy either. If it is crunchy add more broth and keep cooking. Keep in mind it will firm up more the longer it sits out so eat immediately!

plate of creamy lemon parmesan risotto

Looking for more recipes with a similar flavor profile as this risotto? Check out the below!

Lemon Caper Salmon

Chicken Piccata Meatballs

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Creamy Lemon Parmesan Risotto

Print Recipe
This dreamy melt in your mouth risotto is creamy, lemony, and cheesy.
Course Dinner, Main Course
Cuisine Italian
Keyword Fried Rice, Risotto
Prep Time 10 mins
Cook Time 25 mins
Total Time 35 mins
Servings 3 people

Ingredients

  • 3 tbsp butter
  • 5 cloves garlic minced
  • 1 medium shallot mined
  • 1 cup arborio rice
  • 1/2 cup white wine dry
  • 4+ cups broth chicken or vegtable
  • 1 1/2 lemons juiced, zest from 1 whole lemon
  • 1 cup Parmesan cheese freshly grated approx 90g
  • 1/4 cup heavy cream
  • salt

Fried Capers

  • olive oil do not use EVOO
  • capers drained and dried on a paper towel

Instructions

Fried Capers

  • Fill a small pot with about an inch of olive oil. Heat the oil to approx 300 degrees. If you don't have a thermometer do a single caper test after a few minutes on the stove.
  • Carefully ladle in a single layer of capers and fry for 3-5 minutes until the majority of capers have popped open and are crispy.
  • Remove with a slotted spoon and dry on a paper towel.

Creamy Lemon Parmesan Risotto

  • Warm the broth separately on the stove.
  • In a wide pot on medium-low heat melt the butter. Once melted add shallots, garlic and a 1/2 tsp of salt. Sweat and cook down for 3-5 minutes until fragrant and soft.
  • Once sweated out add rice. Toast rice for another 3-4 minuted until grains begin to become translucent.
  • Add the wine and stir. Cook for 2-3 minutes before adding the first round of broth + all of the lemon juice, and lemon zest. Depending on the pan add broth until it just covers the risotto. (could be 1 cup to 1 1/2 cups). Give it a quick mix, a shake of the pan to ensure all grains are covered and cook until rice absorbs the majority of the broth. Feel free to mix a few times throughout the cooking process.
  • Add more broth and repeat above steps. If you are worried about the rice sticking you can shake the pan or mix at any time.
  • Once all broth has been added, but not completely absorbed (15-18 minutes of cooking) give it a taste. Rice should still be loose, yet al dente. Add the Parmesan cheese and heavy cream. Mix to incorporate. Top each dish with a generous amount of fried capers and enjoy!

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